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Corn Chip-Crusted Southwestern Salmon Cakes with Creamy Lemon Chili Sauce

Posted Jun 17 2012 2:06pm

In honor of Father’s Day, I wanted to make Scott something that I knew he would love and that would be his kind of food.

Nothing screams his-kind-of-food louder than salmon.

Except these salmon cakes are a wee bit different than the bagels and lox he grew up eating.

First, there’s beans and corn and although Scott is not a bean fan, they were in the can with the corn so into the salmon cakes they went. He said the beans were fine because they were small. Okay, I’ll go with that.

And rather than breadcrumbs I used Fritos. Definitely not traditional but Scott loved it.

I had leftover Fritos after making the Chips and Cheese Chili Casserole and because I never keep breadcrumbs on hand, I figured the corn chips could do double-duty as seasoned breadcrumbs.

And they worked perfectly. If you don’t have Fritos, you could try corn chips or Doritos. Using breadcrumbs would of course work, too, but isn’t as fun.

Not to mention, you don’t get to clean out the random end-of-the-bag-of-chips-scraps that linger and clutter your cabinets.

I served these cakes on a bed of “fluffy lettuce” as five year old Skylar calls it, aka alfalfa sprouts.

The dipping sauce made with sour cream, lemon juice, and chili powder has a slight kick but overall is cool and creamy and the hot cakes went for a nice cool bath in it.

Let’s make salmon cakes:

Place Fritos in a mixing bowl and chop-chop with a wooden spoon. Not worthy of dirtying the food processor. Or use the grab-a-fistful-squeeze-and-crush-into-crumbs method.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, add the salmon, corn and bean medley, season, and stir.

Combine the wet salmon mixture with the dry crumbs and stir.

Form five patties or four larger ones.

Pan-sear them for a few minutes on each side with butter and moments later your house will reek of fish but that’s okay because your husband will be grateful.

Scott likes his food well-browned and although I prefer things lighter, these were for him so I made sure to make them nice and golden.

With salmon cakes (or crab or tuna cakes), a well-done and crisper exterior is a nice contrast to the softer interior. The same could be said for cookies , but I like those on the under-baked side, too.

Scott loved the flavor of these between the Southwestern seasonings layered with corn and corn chips. And he got over the beans.

And no, for the record, you cannot taste the Fritos in them. In this application, Fritos are simply well-seasoned breadcrumbs or cornbread-breadcrumbs.


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Corn Chip-Crusted Southwestern Salmon Cakes (gluten-free)

2 cups Fritos corn chips, whole and uncrushed (or use about 3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs)

1 large egg

1 6-ounce can salmon (or from a foil-pack; freshly prepared salmon is not necessary for this recipe but can be used if desired – or substitute crab or tuna)

1/2 cup southwestern style corn medley with black beans and bell peppers, or similar

1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (or similar such as Mrs. Dash blend, 21 Salute)

1 teaspoon cumin

pinch chili or cayenne powder, optional and to taste

salt and pepper, optional and to taste (note: there is plenty of salt in the chips and salmon)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons+ butter, for frying

In a medium mixing bowl, add the Fritos, and with a wooden spoon or your hands, crush them into pebble-sized pieces (not a job worthy of dirtying the Vita-Mix or food processor). In a separate mixing bowl, crack the egg and beat it with a fork. Add the salmon, break it apart gently with the fork, and stir to combine. Fold in the corn, seasonings, and stir to combine. Add the crushed chips, flour, and stir to combine. Form 5 patties of equal size, about 3 1/2 inches in diameter, or four larger patties.

Add 1 to 2 tablespoons butter to a large non-stick skillet and over medium-high heat, melt the butter. To the melted butter, add the salmon cakes, cooking for 3 to 4 minutes on first side. Flip and add an additional tablespoon or two of butter if needed so second side browns nicely.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on second side, or until cakes are golden.

Allow cakes to cool and rest for a few minutes before serving. I serve my cakes over a bed of alfalfa sprouts. Leftover cakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and either served cold or reheated gently on the stovetop or microwave.

While cakes cool, make the sauce.

Creamy Lemon Chili Sauce

1/2 cup sour cream (or mayonnaise, Greek-style yogurt, or doctor up tartar sauce)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon cumin

pinch chili powder or cayenne powder, optional and to taste (or use Old Bay, Mrs. Dash, 21 Salute if you don’t like heat)

pinch salt and pepper, optional and to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir, seasoning to taste. Drizzle on top salmon cakes or serve on the side.

Related Recipes:

Chips and Cheese Chili Casserole (vegetarian/vegan, GF) – This recipe is why I had leftover Fritos

Pan-seared easy fish and seafood recipes:

Have you ever made salmon, crab, or tuna cakes?

This uber classy lineup of ingredients (a can of corn/beans, can of salmon, and a leftover bag of Fritos) allowed me to create 5 hearty cakes for about 50 cents each, making the likelihood of ever spending $20 bucks on a pair of salmon or crab cakes in a restaurant or hot bar case at the grocery store highly unlikely.

If you have a great recipe, link it up.

Does your significant other (or child or relative) have a favorite meal and although you may not love it or even eat it, you cook it for them anyway for a special occasion?

Food is love. And since we all know the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, this was a no-brainer. It was easy enough to make in under a half hour but special enough because it’s something I don’t typically make. The last time I made salmon cakes was 2004 and I know that because we had just moved to California and I wanted to break in my new kitchen with something I knew he’d love.

Plus, there were a few leftover cakes with this recipe making dinner the next night a reheat ‘n eat special which was nice.

Thanks for the Silpat Baking Mat Giveaway entries

Happy Father’s Day to the Dads!


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