Quick and easy salmon cakes with pesto

Barton Seaver

Canned wild salmon is the base for these fast, delicious salmon cakes. Serve them over mixed greens or with sauteed bell peppers and a piece of toasty focaccia.

Pink Salmon Cakes with Cilantro Pesto

Salmon Cakes

2 6- to 7-ounce cans boneless, skinless wild Alaskan salmon, drained

1 lemon

1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see notes)

2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 teaspoon ground mace or nutmeg

1 tablespoon butter


1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup slivered almonds

1 clove garlic, peeled

4 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves and tender stems

1/4 teaspoon salt

To prepare salmon cakes: Flake salmon into a bowl, removing any small bones or skin. Cut lemon in half; juice one half and cut the other half into 4 wedges. Add the lemon juice, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, chopped cilantro and mace (or nutmeg) to the bowl. Mix gently with your fingers until well combined. Form into 4 patties 1 inch thick (use a scant 1/2 cup for each). Let sit for about 5 minutes to let the breadcrumbs absorb the flavor.

To prepare pesto: Meanwhile, place oil, almonds and garlic in a blender and pulse to combine. With the blender on medium speed, begin to add cilantro, a handful at a time. Continue, scraping down the sides, until all the leaves are pureed and you have a thick paste. Season with salt and set aside.

Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until foaming. Add the salmon cakes and cook, gently turning halfway through, until golden on both sides, 5 to 6 minutes total. Adjust the heat and reshape the cakes as necessary.

Serve the salmon cakes with the pesto and a wedge of lemon.

Recipe notes: To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. To make fine breadcrumbs, process until very fine. To make dry breadcrumbs, spread coarse or fine breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees until dry, about 10 to 15 minutes. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs or about 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs. For store-bought, coarse, dry breadcrumbs use panko breadcrumbs.

Per serving: 302 calories; 22 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 65 percent calories from fat); 8 g carbohydrates; 1 g sugar; 33 mg cholesterol; 469 mg sodium; 18 g protein; 1 g fiber.