salmon cakes

Salmon Cakes with Chive Yogurt Sauce 

This is one of my favorite summer weeknight meals as salmon cakes are perfect to eat out on the patio with a glass of white wine. To make this recipe, buy the thick middle chunk of the salmon because, rather than using ground salmon, the salmon is kept in small pieces to give more texture. There is just enough binding to hold the cakes together without overpowering the salmon. A similar and more sustainable alternative to salmon is steelhead trout, a fish from the same family as salmon that tastes and looks very similar.

I don’t typically tell long stories with my posts but I am feeling especially nostalgic about this recipe. It is one of those dishes that makes me think of a very specific time and place. The summer after senior year of college, my boyfriend Aaron, and I used to make these salmon cakes together and eat them out on the roof of my apartment in Malibu. (No, I didn’t live in Malibu because I’m secretly a celebrity – Aaron and I went to Pepperdine University located right off the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.) It was a difficult time for me, a time when I didn’t know what I was doing with my life. I had just finished college, my boyfriend and I didn't know what our plans for the future were, either individually or together. I had checked off the metaphorical boxes and done what I needed to do. I had my degree and I figured "ok I have always wanted to work in fashion PR, I’ll find a job doing that." And "that" meant taking an internship on the in New York City.

And "that" didn't seem so bad as I was also at a point where I was sick of the constant Los Angeles traffic and sick of not having seasons (yes, I know it sounds ridiculous). So I found an internship and moved away, and my boyfriend and I did the long distance thing for a while. Well, I learned that fashion PR was not the career path for me, and that I didn't like long distance relationships and now here I am back in Southern California with my boyfriend and a career that I truly enjoy. We live together in a Santa Monica apartment by the beach with our cute little kitten, Stella, and we are both doing something that we love. It just somehow worked out. Back then, we would sit and eat looking at the sunset and stress about what came next. Now we sit and eat those same salmon cakes curled up on the couch with our little kitten, watching whatever TV show we are bingeing at the moment. It’s funny how life works itself works out like that.



For the salmon cakes:

1 pound boneless, skinless Atlantic salmon fillet

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon diced shallot

¼ teaspoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon cayenne

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ cup panko breadcrumbs

1 large egg

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


For the yogurt chive sauce:

1 ½ cups plain Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ teaspoon kosher salt



For the salmon cakes:

Cut the salmon into ¼” to ½” cubes. In a large bowl mix the salmon, mayonnaise, shallot, coriander, cayenne, chives, lemon zest, lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon of the salt, pepper and panko breadcrumbs. In a small bowl lightly beat an egg, then gently fold into the salmon mixture.

Form 4 cakes about 4” in diameter. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and cook the salmon cakes until golden brown and the salmon becomes opaque, about 4 minutes on each side. Since the salmon is in large chunks be careful when flipping the cakes, as they tend to fall apart easily.


For the yogurt chive sauce:

Stir together the yogurt, chives, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt.


For serving:

Serve the warm salmon cakes with the sauce and corn or arugula salad on the side.


Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 for an entrée.



Print Friendly and PDF