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Old Bread & New Fish: Salmon Cakes with Dill Breadcrumbs

April 30, 2006

Salmon3.jpg

Living alone has numerous perils. The second (or third) helping of dessert without the silently raised eyebrow. The singular lack of pressure to wash dishes in a timely fashion. The dinners, eaten alone, of crackers, cheese, chips and salsa. The shocking combinations of wine and chocolate.

But the one most disheartening to me, the one I struggle against constantly, is the presence of sad, forgotten bits of food left uneaten in the fridge, withering away into wasteful scraps of culinary negligence. Sometimes I pull open my cheese drawer and see a beautiful block of cheese with a wasteland of mold - forgotten and unused after ten stressful workdays. Or lovely gemlike plums and grapes, left to shrivel into brown, jellied victims of my forgetfulness. The guilt is nearly unbearable.

But bread has been perhaps the most maltreated denizen of my inner cupboard, the one most often left to rot in suffering silence. I have taken to putting all new loaves in the fridge, prolonging the inevitable end, but it still comes - the last few slices left uneaten, blue and dry.

Therefore, old, stale bread is also the first thing I learned, living and cooking alone, to use up and treasure in its last days. It is the easiest way to absolve myself in some small way of the guilt of wastefulness. Bread is too easy to turn into useful breadcrumbs, golden buttery croutons, warm puddings and gooey, silky panades. Derrick of Obsession with Food seems to agree, since he has set stale bread as the theme of this month's IMBB event. Stale bread - the most plain, unassuming, nearly invisible of all ingredients. To take a few pieces of old bread and use them to their utter end is one of the delights of the kitchen. It's my first step towards being the frugal cooking completist that I want to be - nothing wasted, nothing thrown away, everything used in new flights of creativity to produce food that is good and whole.

I am so not there yet (as my last cucumber would tell you if he weren't unceremoniously dumped, yellow rot and all, into the trash last night) but these salmon cakes are made with the second half of a week-old loaf of whole wheat sandwich bread - a testament to development. The bread was sitting in the fridge, thoroughly old and a little damp. I crisped it up in the oven and made dark and chunky breadcrumbs of it in the food processor, then used them in these little salmon cakes. They are a delicious dinner for one, easy and quick with a taste of summer in the pink fish, the freshness of dill, and golden, buttery crumbs. A worthy use for the last of a loaf of bread. Apologies to the cucumber - I will try harder next time.

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Horseradish Salmon Cakes with Dill Breadcrumbs

1 can (14.5 oz.) cooked boneless salmon fillet
1 egg, beaten
Juice from one lemon
4 TBSP fresh dill, chopped
3 TBSP horseradish sauce
0.25 cup fine fresh bread crumbs

1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP fresh dill, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil

Salmon Mixture
1. Mash the salmon in a large bowl with the egg, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, and bread crumbs.
2. Add salt and pepper to taste. I added no salt because the canned salmon was already pretty salty.

Bread Crumb Coating
1. Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until just foamy.
2. Add the bread crumbs, dill, and some salt and pepper.
3. Fry until toasted and golden brown.
4. Tip out on a plate lined with paper towels to let the extra grease drain away.

Assembly
1. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
2. Form small patties of the salmon mixture in your palms, and roll in the breadcrumbs until well coated.
3. Pan fry until crispy and heated through - about five minutes - flipping halfway through. Eat while hot - good crisped up the next day, too.

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Posted by Faith at 30 April 2006

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Comments

I've made a couple of different recipes for salmon cakes, always using some dill, but never horseradish (which is in itself a new discovery for me). Sounds like a great idea, though, and I will try it out next time. Thanks!

Posted by: littlebouffe [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 30, 2006 11:13 PM

Faith,

Great combination of flavors! Thanks so much for participating.

Posted by: Derrick Schneider at May 6, 2006 02:53 AM

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