Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Baked Salmon Croquettes

Lovey and I have been long time fans of salmon croquettes (cakes, patties - whatever you grew up calling them).

I used to use canned salmon but I thought it might be fun to try them with fresh salmon.  And am I glad I did!

I started with making some poaching liquid of water, white wine, celery leaves, Italian parsley and black peppercorns

Once the poaching liquid comes to a boil it's lowered it to a simmer and the salmon is added. I prefer wild caught salmon. Poaching time is about 12 minutes; possibly shorter if you slice the salmon into smaller filets.

When the salmon has cooled enough to work with it it gets gently shredded; by hand or with a fork

Seasoned dried bread crumbs are tossed with the salmon.  I used crumbs from a stale French baguette.

The mayonnaise mixture is what will give these croquettes a creamy moist inside. I find it easier to use an 8 ounce jar of Hellmann's rather than measuring it out; I tend to use too much mayo if I measure it myself.

It will be evident that this is a wet mixture. I usually put the mixture in the refrigerator for awhile and let it firm up a little.

Just before you put them in the oven, form the croquettes and coat them in Panko crumbs. You can also form the patties and let them rest, on waxed paper, in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake (don't dredge in the Panko crumbs until you are ready to put in oven - the crumbs will get soggy if you do).

The cooking time is about 40 minutes because the croquettes are cold when placed into the oven .  Be sure to watch yours so they don't brown too much.  I found that by the time the exterior was browned to a nice golden color the croquettes were nice and hot in the middle.

Perfectly crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside.

Baked Salmon Croquettes
Yields 8 croquettes, serving 4
Adapted from Sheila Lukins' "U.S.A. Cookbook"

For the Poaching Liquid
4 cups water
1 cup dry white wine
4 sprigs celery leaves
6 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp Kosher salt
6 black peppercorns
1 pound salmon fillet

For the Croquettes
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried mustard
1 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise (an 8 ounce jar is easy)
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1 Tbsp drained tiny capers, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
 Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup Panko crumbs

Prepare the poaching liquid by combining all the ingredients, except the salmon, in a large saucepan.  Gently rub your fingers along the surface of the salmon filet and remove any bones that may have been left. Bring poaching liquid to a boil then reduce to a simmer. 

Add the salmon to the poaching liquid and simmer until it can be easily flaked with a fork, about 12 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon remove salmon from liquid to a dish and set aside to cool.  When the salmon is cooled enough to handle, remove any skin and bones and flake the fish into  large bowl.  Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl combine the 1/4 cups dried bread crumbs, the thyme, oregano, and mustard. Gently combine this with the cooled, shredded salmon.

Measure 1 cup of Hellmann's mayonnaise in a medium mixing bowl.  Finely dice onion and celery; add to mayonnaise.  Coarsely chop the capers and parsley; add to mayonnaise.  Measure the Worcestershire into the mixture and lastly add the lightly beaten egg.  Mix well.  Combine the bread crumb/salmon mixture with the mayonnaise mixture. Salt and pepper to taste

Place the mixture in the refrigerator to firm up a bit. Using a 1/4 cup scoop you should get around 8 patties. You can make smaller hors d'oeuvres - sized patties as well to serve as appetizers

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°.  Pull croquettes mixture out of refrigerator, form patties and gently roll both sides with plain Panko crumbs.  Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes until the Panko begins turning  a golden brown.

These can easily be prepared to the shaping stage and covered with plastic wrap and cooled overnight, putting Panko on prior to putting in oven. 

A nice side salad of iceberg lettuce and marinated pear tomatoes would round out the meal.