Thursday, July 7, 2011

Salmon Cakes

Salmon Cakes
Dorcas Annette Walker

I’ve always been fascinated by the salmon’s migration against incredible odds, which reminds me so much of my father, who lived with severe hemophilia that handicapped his physical body, but not his spirit. It would have been simple for him to give up, sit back, and take it easy. My dad had more than enough excuses, but he was raised on a farm with a strong work ethic. We children learned early on that Dad tolerated no slackness or being lazy. There were times growing up when we complained about working harder than other kids our age in order to keep our household operating with a fulltime working mother, who was the sole support of our family, along with a handicapped father, who wasn’t able to fix things around the house like other dads. We soon became trained in many diverse areas as my father didn’t believe in spending his time lying around. My friends were in awe that I, who was always very skinny, with the help of my younger sister could change a flat tire or hitch up a trailer. It might take us girls longer than an adult and entail both of our bodies working together in unison to raise the car with a jack, but the last thing us teenage girls complained about- at least in our dad’s hearing- was broken fingernails or getting dirty from what my dad called “good ole plain hard work”. In turn I passed my father’s worth ethic along to my children, who were positive when they were young that they were being tortured. Now I’m thrilled to see my father’s legacy being passed down to my grandchildren.

There are seven categories of salmon. The most popular human consumption is the Atlantic salmon sold fresh, canned, or frozen from salmon farms as wild salmon are endangered and illegal to catch. Salmon get their pinkish color for the krill they eat, produce 2,500 to 7,000 eggs, and can weigh up to 100 pounds. Spawning salmon return to the precise stream or river of their birth by their keen sense of smell (greater than a dog or bear) relying on ocean currents, tides, and the gravitational pull of the moon to overcome great distances (the longest distance of a tagged salmon was 3,500 miles) and hazardous conditions. Salmon are “anadromous”, which means making a drastic metabolic change not once but twice when going from fresh to saltwater and back. Pacific salmon die shortly after spawning, but Atlantic salmon are capable of surviving and spawning again. Commercial salmon farming began in Norway in the late 1960’s. Today Chile and Norway are the two largest salmon farming countries in the world. Chum salmon are also called “dog salmon” because the Eskimo people catch, freeze, and then feed them to their dogs during the winter months. Evidence has proven that the Inuit and Eskimos live a longer life span due to a diet mostly of salmon and seal meat. Salmon meat contains rich sources of Omega 3 essential fatty acids known to lower heart disease, decrease hyperactivity, dyslexia, and dysphasia, improve concentration, and fight against colorectal cancer.

My Salmon Cakes are a filling addition to any meal with their mild fish flavor along with a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. You can add chopped onions or green peppers and substitute the mashed potatoes with cooked rice, crushed crashers, or bread crumbs. Other canned fish can be used as well. Preparation time for the Salmon Cakes is twenty minutes and this recipe makes four large fish patties.

Salmon Cakes

2 tb butter
1 (14.75 oz) can of pink salmon
1 c mashed potatoes
1 egg
salt & pepper

Melt butter in an iron skillet. Mix together in a small bowl the de-boned salmon with juice, mashed potatoes, and egg. With a large spoon drop the batter into the hot grease. Let brown on one side and flip over. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with paprika and serve hot!

Weekly tip: Potato flakes can be added to the mixture to make firmer fish cakes!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:

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