Thursday, March 29, 2012

Salmon-and-Potato Cakes with Mixed Greens

The idea to make salmon and potato cakes first arose when a recipe appeared in a Food and Wine newsletter some weeks back. Although this isn't the particular recipe featured, the notion really got stuck in my head and started me on a search that led me to this lovely meal. This recipe utilizes a classic collection of flavors to great success, particularly reminding me of just how much I adore fresh dill. Poaching the onion, potato and salmon together infuses the cake with a delicious flavor base which is then accented beautiful by the scallions, dill, Dijon, and vinegar folded gently into the cake. Using an adequate amount of oil is critical to creating a satisfying crust, so don't skimp when frying the salmon cakes. Plated gently on top of a generous bed of fresh greens, this meal needs nothing more than a glass of wine and slice of crusty bread to complete it. Sophisticated enough for date night but easy and quick enough for any weekday, this fresh and healthy meal is the perfect addition to your spring dinner table.
Salmon-and-Potato Cakes with Mixed Greens
from Food and Wine
serves 4

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes (about 3), peeled and sliced thin
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 onion, grated
1 pound skinless salmon fillets
1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 scallions, white bulbs only, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red- or white-wine vinegar
1/2 pound mixed salad greens (about 4 quarts)
1 lemon, cut into wedges (optional)

1. Brush the bottom of a large deep frying pan with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Put the potatoes in the pan and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Top with the onion and then the salmon. Sprinkle another 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper over the salmon. Add the water to the pan, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the salmon and potatoes are done, about 15 minutes.

2. Remove the salmon and flake. Drain the potatoes well and put in a medium bowl. Add the cream and mash, leaving the potatoes fairly chunky. Add the salmon, another 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper, the scallions, and 2 tablespoons of the dill. Form the mixture into eight cakes; they needn't be perfectly symmetrical or smooth.

3. Wipe out the frying pan. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat over moderately high heat. Add half the salmon cakes to the pan and brown well on both sides, about 5 minutes in all. Drain on paper towels and repeat with another tablespoon oil and the remaining salmon cakes.

4. In a medium glass or stainless-steel bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, and the remaining 1 tablespoon dill and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the remaining 1/4 cup oil slowly, whisking. Add the greens, toss, and put on plates. Top each salad with two salmon cakes and a lemon wedge.

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