Pepper crusted salmon cakes with horseradish sauce

By • March 28, 2011 • 26 Comments



Author Notes: I grew up eating fish cakes at least once a week. And now, it is still my go to weeknight dinner when I can't think of anything else to make. It's rather easy and always delicious. I frequently make my salmon cakes with a Thai curry spiced dipping sauce, but this evening I thought, why not use a little horseradish for a kick instead? Then this made me think of pastrami for some reason, so I decided to go ahead and give the salmon cakes a peppery crust. I'm already excited to eat the leftover fish cake for breakfast! - fiveandspicefiveandspice

Food52 Review: There’s something about the word "cake" that just sounds intriguing, especially when it includes fresh wild salmon. These salmon cakes have already made two appearances at my house, once as an appetizer for friends and once as a dinner entree with asparagus (a perfect suggestion by the author). Both were a hit! The peppery crust compliments both the salmon and the horseradish sauce without being overpowering, while the salmon cakes taste fresh and flavorful, yet delicate and comforting. We all agreed that they can best be described as “crispy pillows of savory scrumptiousness, dressed in a tongue tingling sauce." This is one of my all-time favorite dishes. My only addition to it was a glass of Washington Chardonnay...okay, make that two glasses. - SwoonMySpoonSwoonMySpoon

Makes 6 fish cakes

  • 1 pound salmon (wild caught)
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper (use a food processor)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley (you can food process this too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon (generous) coarsely ground/cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs, divided
  • olive oil for frying
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Place the salmon in a baking pan with a half-inch of water. Bake/poach until just cooked through, 20-25 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to cool slightly. Blot dry with a paper towel and remove the skin.
  2. In the meantime, in a small bowl combine the creme fraiche, 1 Tbs. horseradish and lemon juice with a pinch of salt and pepper. If you'd like a slightly garlicky sauce, you can add a smashed piece of garlic and let it sit with the garlic in it while you prepare everything else. Then, fish the garlic out before serving. (I tried it both ways and decided I liked it better without garlic, but that's just a personal preference.) Set sauce aside.
  3. Put the salmon in a bowl, add the minced bell pepper, parsley, salt, mustard, mayonnaise, and a half cup of breadcrumbs. Stir with a fork to combine well and fluff. If it seems too wet or too dry to be able to form cakes, add mayo or bread crumbs as needed. This is something I do totally by feel, so I can't say for sure exactly the quantities I wind up using.
  4. Form the salmon mixture into 6 patties, place them on a wax paper lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (During this time you can prep any vegetable you are going to have on the side.)
  5. Mix together the remaining half cup of Panko and the cracked pepper on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Heat a large splash of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Gently dip the salmon cakes in the pepper mixture, lightly coating both sides (be careful when you handle them, as they are a bit fragile at this point). You may need to add a touch more breadcrumbs and pepper depending on how thickly you coat your cakes. Fry the salmon cakes until golden brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  6. Serve with the horseradish sauce for spooning all over them. We had ours with some roasted asparagus (totally jumping the gun on the seasons, but we're kind of aching for spring around here), and I wound up drizzling the horseradish sauce all over those too!
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Comments (26) Questions (2)

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over 1 year ago rederin

I've made these a few times now. They take a bit more time than the salmon croquettes I grew up with, but using the fresh salmon makes all the difference in the world. Totally worth it!

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Sorry I missed this comment before (I haven't been receiving notifications reliably), but I'm so glad you're enjoying them!

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almost 2 years ago Sarah H.

After about a month of feeling completely uninspired to make much in the way of a decent dinner, I decided to try these last night. The process of making them was fun. The ingredients comprise so many individually delicious flavors — I had a great time experimenting with proportions and getting the taste just right. I used a garlicky mayonnaise, too, which seemed to pair well with the horseradish. I also broiled the cakes instead of panfrying. They were just as crispy as I hoped they'd be, but even lighter than I expected. And don't even get me started on the horseradish sauce! That's now going to be a kitchen staple to use on whatever future dish needs a little extra kick. Thank you!

Sausage2

almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

That is so great to hear! I'm glad they brought a little bit of the cooking magic back for you! :)

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about 2 years ago gingerroot

Hi Em! We finally tried these for dinner tonight and they are fabulous!! With some garlicky wilted swiss chard it made for a delicious meal. My only regret is that between the four of us we devoured all six in one sitting - next time I'll have to double the recipe to make sure we have leftovers. I only made two minor changes - 1) I was running short on time so froze them on a baking sheet for 15 minutes instead of refrigerating them with good results 2) To accommodate my gf hubby I substituted two slices of Food for Life gf Rice Pecan bread (grated with a curved cheese grater) for the panko. Thanks for a great recipe that we'll be sure to enjoy again!

Sausage2

about 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Hi Jenny! Sorry to be a little slow to respond. We just got back from a trip to Norway to visit the fam. (About as opposite to Hawaii as you can get, I think, given we were bundled in parkas most evenings, even though it was June/July!) I'm tickled that you guys liked them so much! I think it is indeed a good recipe for doubling. :) And, thanks for letting me know about all the tweaks, especially being able to use GF bread, which is great to know for when I cook for my various GF friends, something I'm still trying to get better at.

Barbara_davilman

over 2 years ago DAVILCHICK

Made this as an appetizer and as the main coarse for our Pescatarian friend. I don't think I can ever eat tuna again without red bell pepper. Thank you for the permission to play it by ear regarding the panko and mayo. I made everything ahead of time and then coated and fried right before serving. Mmmmmmmmmmm....

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Excellent! Glad they worked out so well for you!

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over 2 years ago Foodelf

I made these yesterday and they were simply delicious. Impressively easy to put together and I don't think I'd change a thing - although I did wonder about adding a little chopped green onion. I'm going to be making these frequently.

They'd be terrific as an appetizer prepped and ready to go in advance.

I plan to prepare a couple for a tasty packed lunch with some salad.

Thanks, fiveandspice - I wish I hadn't waited so long to try this one.

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks so much Foodelf! I'm really happy you liked them, and I totally agree, they're great as appetizers, or lunch too. I even eat them for breakfast sometimes. And, a little chopped green onion is a great addition. I actually do add them sometimes, if I have them around. But, for some reason, I never seem to have them!

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over 2 years ago Foodelf

I've now made these 3 times and I'm loving them. One new tweak - I've been serving them with Sweet Thai Chili Sauce as an appetizer and they fly off the plate! I love the horseradish sauce, but it may just have been nudged aside by the STCS - notwithstanding, there's room for both.

A friend at the office, who's also made them a couple of times, speculates that serving them with poached eggs, like a Benny, would be very tasty.

Again ... thanks for this recipe, it's now practically a member of the family.

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I'm glad you've been enjoying them so much! I love that you're using Thai Chili Sauce with them. That sounds yummy! I actually sometimes make a little sauce of mayo and Thai red chili paste to serve with them, which is also delicious. And, as part of eggs benedict? Dee-licious, for sure!

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almost 3 years ago Kristabolt

Is there a good gluten free substitute for the Panko breading?

Sausage2

almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

That's a great question! I'm afraid I don't know a ton about gluten free substitutions, but I know I have seen gluten free breadcrumbs before, which you could probably use. You might want to ask on foodpickle to see what others know about GF substitutes for panko.

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almost 3 years ago stripedcow

This is a fantastic combination of tastes...thanks!

Sausage2

almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks stripedcow! I'm so happy you enjoyed them! They're a staple around here.

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

I love the contrasts of flavors here.

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh, thank you Sagegreen! I was really very happy with how they turned out! :)

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over 3 years ago singing_baker

This looks so delicious! Making salmon into cakes is the only way I can get my husband to eat salmon so I will definitely be trying out this recipe. nice work!

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you singing baker! I hope you enjoy them!!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

YUM! I love salmon cakes (and so do my kids) and these sound really delicious. Love the salmon + horseradish + peppery crust. Adding to my list of recipes to try soon.

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks gingerroot! And, I'm so glad to hear your kids are also salmon cake lovers. It's a good thing to be brought up on!

Gracekelly

over 3 years ago aeisenhower

Love! Hope you are an "editors pick"!

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Aw, thanks! That's so kind of you.

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over 3 years ago MeghanVK

What a gorgeous photo!

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks so much!