These Sriracha Seared Salmon Cakes are, without exaggeration, the best fish cakes I’ve ever made or eaten. That’s a major statement, I know! But I really mean it. It’s not a claim I make lightly. Trust.
I’ve tried many salmon cake recipes over the years; most have been lacking spice, overly-complicated, or just plain boring. A couple of weeks ago I decided to tackle the problem head-on. I kicked the whole thing up a notch by starting with my oven seared salmon as a base. Searing the salmon takes all of ten minutes, and it is SO worth the extra effort. Using fresh seared salmon rather than canned will give you a fresher, less “fishy” flavor as a base. It will also give you some glorious crispy browned edges, which add a ton of flavor to the finished product. When you start with something so delicious, you don’t need to “doll it up” with all kinds of crazy extras. I tried lots of variations, but found that a simple mix of celery, onion, Greek yogurt, panko, dill and smoked paprika gave it all the flavor it needed.
Oh, and sriracha. Did I mention sriracha? Yeah. Adding Huy Fong’s magical spice sauce was a total goldmine. Talk about a flavor bomb!!
While developing this recipe, it occurred to me that I didn’t know much about the history of sriracha. Turns out the Huy Fong brand was developed in 1980 by a Vietnamese refugee of Chinese descent named David Tran. The name, Huy Fong, comes from the ship that brought Tran to America. The sauce itself was inspired by traditional Thai hot sauces. Not surprisingly, 80 percent of the recipe is chili peppers, aged in the bottle for 6 months before being sold. The thick, garlicky hot sauce is bottled in Southern California, not far from where I live. It’s been in the news a lot lately– the Irwindale factory has been upsetting local residents due to the spicy fumes it produces. There was a minor uproar (and a collective hoarding of sriracha bottles) when the factory was recently threatened with shutdown due to the peppery odors. Last I heard, the factory’s future is still up in the spicy, spicy air.
I do hope they work things out. I can’t imagine life in the kitchen without sriracha. Best take advantage of this recipe now, before it’s too late!
Salmon Cake Ingredients
- 1/2 lb fresh boneless skinless salmon filet(s)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 ribs celery
- 1 onion, peeled
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 heaping tbsp fresh dill, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp sriracha (if spice sensitive use 1/2 tbsp, if you love sriracha/spice use 1 1/2 tbsp)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- Grapeseed oil for frying (about 1 1/2 cups)
Creamy Sriracha Sauce Ingredients
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise (you may substitute Greek yogurt or sour cream)
- 1 tbsp sriracha, or more to taste
You will also need
- Large nonstick skillet with metal oven-safe handle, food processor, mixing bowls
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. First you will need to sear the salmon. For step-by-step photos of the following process, click here. Place a large nonstick skillet with metal oven-safe handle on a burner over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes till drops of water sizzle and bead on the surface when you sprinkle them. When water dries pour 2 tbsp oil and swirl around the bottom of the pan to evenly coat. Oil will begin to smoke lightly after a moment or two. Place salmon fillet(s) gently into the skillet. Turn the heat to high. Let the salmon sear for 2-3 minutes till a golden brown crust begins to form on the bottom of the fish. You'll be able to see the edge of the crust where the meat touches the pan. Transfer the whole skillet to the preheated oven. Let the salmon continue roasting in the oven for another 6-9 minutes till just cooked through. Using an oven mitt, take the hot skillet out of the oven and remove seared salmon from the skillet. Leave the remaining oil from cooking the fish in the skillet, you'll be using it again. Roughly chop the salmon and reserve (it will be about 1 1/2 cups flaked salmon). If baking the salmon cakes (recommended), reduce oven heat to 375 degrees F. If frying the patties, you can turn the oven off.
- In a food processor, mince together the celery and onion.
- Add the minced celery and onion to the same skillet you used to sear the salmon. Cook until softened and starting to caramelize. Place in a mixing bowl and allow to cool off.
- In the food processor, combine the chopped salmon and fresh dill. Pulse a few times so that the mixture is chopped, but not a paste (careful, it can easily go to over-processed if you pulse it too much!).
- In the mixing bowl with the cooked celery and onion, add the processed salmon and dill, 2 beaten eggs, Greek yogurt, salt, smoked paprika and sriracha. Stir to blend, then add the panko breadcrumbs.
- I recommend baking these fish cakes. There is really not a big flavor difference here between baking and frying, and baking lowers the calorie count. To bake them, shape the mixture into 1/4 cup patties, then place patties on a well greased baking sheet. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 8 minutes. Turn the patties, then bake for 7-8 more minutes till browned and cooked through.
- If frying the patties, add enough oil to the skillet to reach a depth of 1/4 inch. Heat slowly over medium heat. When the oil is hot, fry the salmon cakes for 2 1/2-3 1/2 minutes on each side till golden brown. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan.
- Once cooked, remove the salmon cakes from the pan using a metal spatula and place them on paper towels to drain.
- To make the sauce: Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir together until well blended. If subbing Greek yogurt or sour cream for mayonnaise, add salt to the sauce to taste. Add additional sriracha for added spice, if desired.
- Serve salmon cakes topped with the creamy sriracha sauce.