New Location

You can find all the old content and new stuff too at

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Salmon Cakes

I made this recipe from The Splendid Table but once I'd mixed it up, I knew it would not work. It would have been a delicious salmon hash. I could tell that it would not hold together. Which means it fails as a "cake." The solution to this problem: mayonnaise. Great binder. I've cut the recipe in half, made a few minor changes.

Salmon Cakes
(serves 4-6 as an entree)

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
½ small red onion, finely chopped (or use a couple of shallots)
½ medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped

14 oz. cooked salmon, either canned and drained or leftover from dinner
2 Tablespoons minced fresh basil
2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon capers, chopped
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¾ teaspoon Old Bay (or similar crab boil) seasoning
½ Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 whole egg
½ cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup mayonnaise
olive oil for frying

Heat up a large skillet over medium heat. Add vegetable oil. Saute´ onion, red pepper, and celery until softened, about 5 minutes. While the vegetables are cooking, place the salmon in a large bowl and break it up into chunks. Don't make the chunks too small. You want to know there is salmon in these cakes. Dump the cooked veggies in with the salmon. Add the minced herbs, capers, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seasoning, mustard, egg, and panko. Mix it to combine. Add mayonnaise and mix until evenly distributed. It should have enough mayo to hold together. Try to make a patty; add a bit more mayo if it won't hold together. You'll have no end of grief trying to flip them if they won't hold together.

Wipe out the skillet you cooked the vegetables in. Reheat over medium-high heat. Add about 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Form salmon into 6 patties and shallow fry until nicely browned on both sides. You may have to add additional oil after you flip them. How much oil you use will depend on the type of pan you use. I use a cast iron griddle which is well-seasoned, but you still need a fair bit of oil if you want a crispy crust (which is essential for deliciousness).

Makes a good salmon cake sandwich, or served on top of a big green salad.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sherried Porcini Marinade

This is delicious. Really delicious. I've used it on boneless pork chops and thin steaks. So savory. The original recipe, from one of my favorite cookbooks for grilling, uses dried shiitake mushrooms. I have lots of dried porcinis (photo above shows a good haul before drying) so I used them instead. Unlike many marinades, it's a quick one. You only need an hour or so. Packs a ton of umami into a small span of time.

Sherried Shiitake (or Porcini) Marinade
(makes enough for 1 1/2 - 2 pounds of meat)

½ cup dry sherry
½ oz. dried shiitakes or porcini mushrooms
1 small shallot, peeled and cut into quarters
1 large clove to garlic, peeled
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

In a small saucepan, heat the sherry until simmering. Put the mushrooms in a small bowl and pout the sherry over the mushrooms. Smush down so most of the mushrooms are covered with sherry. Let soak for 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms, reserving the sherry. Strain the sherry through cheesecloth to get rid of any sand. Add the mushrooms and strained sherry to the bowl of a food processor. Turn on the processor. Drop in the shallot pieces and garlic. Process until everything is chopped finely. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the soy, vinegar, tarragon, and black pepper. Process again until mixed. Place the meat in a shallow glass dish. Pour over the marinade, turning the meat to coat. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Before grilling, season meat well with salt. Grill on a very hot grill.

From Marinades: The Secret of Great Grilling by Melanie Barnard, HarperPerennial, 1997.