Thursday, January 7, 2016

Salmon Cakes with Ultimate Tzatziki Sauce

Do you like crab cakes? Here is a cheaper, although flavorful and delicious, alternative to it - salmon cakes! Don't skimp on tzatziki sauce - it is the best version you ever tasted.

Blog's Category: Healthy, Seafood


It has, probably, happened to you before - you get that wild frozen salmon fillet, very reasonably priced, and try to cook something amazing and healthy. Too bad you end up with a dry, unappetizing grey-ish blob of something that promised to be something amazing. Well, no worries anymore! That type of frozen salmon is perfect for this recipe!  

Why I would not recommend to use fresh farmed salmon for this recipe? Just because fresh salmon, farmed or high-grade wild salmon, or sockeye salmon, are perfect for baking or grilling and it would be a shame, IMHO, to chop it up and "dilute" with other ingredients. So, wild frozen salmon it is, the optimal choice for recipe below.

What is it?

Chopped salmon, mixed with two kinds of pepper, minimal seasoning and small amount of bread crumbs does a trick. Accompanying tzatziki sauce is overloaded with finely chopped carrots, onion, pepper and pickles. Simple secret trick makes this sauce unbelievably delicious.

Taste Description

Salmon cakes are meaty and tender, gentle salmon flavor is complemented by fresh subtle peppery taste with a delicate heat from a bits of red chili here and there. Cakes are delicious on its own, but with a tzatziki, crunchy with a rich vegetable and pickle-flavored accent, it is high-level, utter satisfaction indeed.

How to Serve

It's the best freshly cooked. But can also be cleverly utilized later on, cold - use it as filling for your sandwich, or with a burger buns, or cut in half, wrap into tortilla along with some greens, freshly grated carrots and some onion.

As you see on a picture below, I served my cakes with a buttered buckwheat, topped with thinly julienned carrot. Delightful! 

Salmon Cakes with Ultimate Tzatziki Sauce

For about 8 cakes:
  • 1 lb frozen wild salmon, thawed, finely diced/chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced/chopped
  • 1-2 fresh red chili peppers, seeds removed, very finely diced/chopped
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used panko type)
  • 1.5 tbs mayonnaise (optional, but highly recommended)
  • about 1/2 tsp salt or to taste

For about 2 cups tzatziki sauce:
  • 1/2 fresh carrot, very finely diced/chopped
  • 1 green chili pepper, very finely diced/chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, very finely diced/chopped
  • 1 medium pickle, very finely diced/chopped
  • 1 cup sour cream (or whole milk yogurt)
  • about 1/2 cup pickle juice (secret ingredient!)
  • salt and black pepper to taste

- Mix all cakes ingredients well, cover bowl with a plastic wrap and let in rest in a cold place for about 2 hours or overnight. 

- Meanwhile prepare tzatziki sauce by mixing all sauce ingredients together. Add more pickle juice if need to get it right - not too thick but a little bit runny. Adjust salt and pepper if needed. If your pickle juice is too sour, you may need to add a little bit of sugar to balance it out.

- In your palms, make cake, forming tight ball, then gently flattening it. Place cake onto preheated frying pan with an olive oil. Continue with a rest of mix. Cook cakes on a medium heat until golden-brown. Carefully flip them over and cook on an other side.

- Serve with a tzatziki sauce and enjoy!



After dicing, chop it up additionally, just a little bit.

Fresh fresno chili. They are not awfully spicy, but if you are not used to heat, reduce its amount.

Green bell pepper

Small amount of mayonnaise will make a big difference. Although, you can omit it. In this case add two tablespoons of water and one tablespoon of olive oil for soaking bread crumbs.

Covered with a plastic wrap, it goes in fridge for a night (or hour or two).

Carrot, first sliced with a mandoline, then chopped into very fine pieces. If you feel lazy, alternatively, grate it on a medium-course grater.

Usually I buy my green chilies in Indian grocery store... I really like their gentle but very pronounced heat.

Don't forget to remove seeds.


Same as with a carrot, alternatively, you can grate your pickle, not slice-and-dice as I made it here. I just wanted my tzatziki to have bits of vegetables in it versus integrated in it if my veggies would be grated. Although, choice is yours ;)

Looking good, hah?

Here it is - a little of pickle juice makes a trick - whole sauce acquires that unique pickle-y umami undertone..

Don't forget to finish it up with a pinch of salt and black pepper..

Flipping your cakes, you may feel they are a little fragile - no worry, it's not an end of the world and your cracked cake won't taste worse :)

This thin strands of carrot make a nice crunchy and sweet finish to a plate!

Picture won't give you a right impression... In a reality, cakes were more pinkish, without those white spots of coagulated fish juice, popping out on a picture :) Well.. writing about it makes me craving them again :)