A good salmon cake delivers rich flavour and tender texture; the best veers away from flavour-muting binders at all costs.
We used a food processor to chop salmon into a mix of both fine and larger pieces for a varied and not overly dense texture. A single slice of bread provided just enough binding, and a combination of shallot, parsley, mustard, and capers complemented the salmon; a bit of mayonnaise ensured our patties would stay moist.
Broiling the patties made them easy to flip and kept them from overcooking. We arranged them on one end of a baking sheet, leaving plenty of room for a broiler-friendly vegetable—asparagus—to cook simultaneously. A quick lemon and parsley sauce added a touch of class.
Be sure to use raw salmon here; do not substitute cooked or canned salmon. Don’t overprocess the salmon, or the cakes will have a pasty texture. Lay the salmon cakes close together on the baking sheet so that the asparagus has a little extra space for browning
HERBED SALMON CAKES WITH ASPARAGUS AND LEMON-HERB SAUCE
Start to finish: 45 minutes
Lemon-Herb Sauce:1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 scallion, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
Salmon Cakes and Asparagus:1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
1 pound skinless salmon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed and minced
Salt and pepper
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
For the lemon-herb sauce: Combine all ingredients in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
For the salmon cakes and asparagus: Adjust oven rack 3 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Pulse bread in food processor to coarse crumbs, about 4 pulses, then transfer to large bowl; you should have about 3/4 cup crumbs. Working in 2 batches, pulse salmon in food processor until coarsely ground, about 4 pulses; transfer to bowl with bread crumbs and toss to combine.
Whisk shallot, mayonnaise, parsley, mustard, capers, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper together in small bowl, then gently fold into salmon mixture until well combined. Divide salmon mixture into 4 equal portions and gently pack into 1-inch-thick patties.
Place salmon cakes on 1 side of rimmed baking sheet. Toss asparagus with oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and spread in single layer on empty side of sheet. Broil until cakes are lightly browned on both sides, barely translucent at centre, and register 120 F to 125 F (for medium-rare), and asparagus is lightly browned and tender, 8 to 12 minutes, flipping cakes and turning asparagus halfway through broiling.
Remove sheet from oven, transfer salmon and asparagus to platter, and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with lemon-herb sauce.