Salmon Cakes with Tzatziki Sauce and Crab and Cheese Grits

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I mentioned in an earlier post that salmon is a pretty new food for me.  I have found that I love it and we have been enjoying it about once every two to three weeks.  I prefer to cook a whole side of salmon rather than fillets but a side of salmon can weigh anywhere between 2 and 3 pounds, far more than Richie and I can eat even when we have my mother-in-law, Kathy, over for dinner.  There is always leftovers.

The first few times we had salmon I took salads for lunch the next few days and topped them with the leftover salmon.  While delicious and light, I was really looking for something more substantial.  Something that could serve as the evening meal.  I was stummped.

Now I have mentioned in the past that Richie is sometimes a picky eater.  He has done AMAZINGLY better in the last few years really broadening his horizons and expanding his palette.  Still there is fear in trying new things – a trait shared by most humans, at least to some degree.  So when Richie handed me the June 20, 2012 Food Section of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette that featured a recipe for salmon cakes I thought, “Bingo!” (If you have a picky eater in your family hand them a cookbook or invite them to browse your Pinterest account.  Once I started letting Richie pick out the new meals we were trying he was much more open to trying out new things! Who would have thought!)

So salmon cakes it was!  The  recipe was super fast and simple to put together.  On Sunday afternoon we had Blackened Salmon (or you could try my Tropical Salmon) with Baked Potatoes, Roasted Summer Squash and Zucchini and my yummy Pineapple Salsa.  After dinner I took about 15 minutes to prepare the salmon cakes and the Tzatziki sauce for Monday night’s meal and stuck them in the fridge.  The next evening dinner was ready in less than 20 minutes!

Note: To make Blackened Salmon simply smear both sides of a side of salmon with softened butter and sprinkle liberally with your favorite blackening seasoning.  Heat a cast iron skillet on high and add the side of salmon.  Cook about four minutes on each side or until the salmon is no longer translucent and flakes easily with a fork.

All recipes below are adapted from Susan M. Selasky. “Stretching Salmon.” Arkansas Democrat Gazette 20 June 2012, Food: E1-8.

Tzatziki Sauce

1 Medium Cucumber, peeled and seeded
Kosher Salt
1 Cup Greek Yogurt
1/3 Cup Sour Cream
Milk (optional)
1 Tablespoon Olive oil
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
1 Tbs. of Lemon juice
1 small Shallot, minced (about 1 TBS.)
1 clove of garlic,  grated
2 Tbs. Fresh Dill
Salt and Pepper to taste

Peel and seed cucumber and chop into small, bite-sized bits.  Place into a strainer over a bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt.  Place in the fridge for about two hours to drain excess moisture from the cucumber.

In a bowl, mix the greek yogurt and the sour cream.  Add in the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, cucumbers, shallot and garlic.  Stir in 2 Tbs. of fresh dill and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Chill at least 30 minutes before serving.  If the sauce is too thick you can thin it out by stirring in a few tablespoons of milk just before serving.


Salmon Cakes (Makes about 6 Cakes)

3/4 Pound cooked, leftover Salmon
2 Tbs. Chopped, roasted red peppers
2 Tbs. red onion, minced
1/2 Tbs. Olive Oil (plus more for cooking the salmon cakes)
1 tsp. Lemon Pepper Seasoning
3 – 4 Tbs. Mayonnaise
1 Tbs. Dijon Mustard
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 Cup Panko bread crumbs (plus more for dredging)

In a small pan saute the onion in olive oil until it begins to soften.  Add the roasted red pepper and saute about 1 minute more.  Remove from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.

In a bowl, lightly crumble the salmon into pieces.  You do not want the pieces to be too small.  Add the slightly cooled onion and red pepper mixture to the salmon.  Add the lemon pepper, mayo, mustard, egg and panko.  Stir lightly.  Do not over mix.  Carefully form the mixture into patties and dredge both sides in panko bread crumbs.  Place on a plate covered with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.  You can complete this step up to 24 hours in advance.

When ready to cook, heat 2 tbs. of olive oil in a skillet.  Add the cakes and cook about three minutes on each side until golden brown and warmed all the way through.  Serve on a bed of mixed greens and top with Tzatziki sauce (see recipe above) and Pineapple Salsa.  Serve with Crab and Cheese Grits (see recipe below).


Crab and Cheese Grits

1 Cup Grits (Quick Cooking or Traditional, NOT instant)
2 Cups Water
1/2 cup shredded Gouda cheese
2 – 4 oz.  lump crab meat (not imitation)
2 Tbs. Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine 1 cup of grits and 2 cups of water and cook the grits according to the package directions.  While the grits cook melt 1 Tbs. of butter in a small pan and add the crab meat.  Saute just a moment to heat the crab through.  Remove from the heat.

When the grits have cooked, stir in the shredded gouda, crab meat and remaining 1 Tbs. of butter.  Mix until well combined.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve beside the crab cakes.

Note:  The crab meat in the above recipe is totally optional. If you prefer to leave it out just skip that part entirely.  Cheese grits are just as delicious on their own!


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3 thoughts on “Salmon Cakes with Tzatziki Sauce and Crab and Cheese Grits

  1. I’m definitely trying those grits! We love smoked gouda grits; the addition of crab sounds wonderful. Next time you grill or smoke salmon, try my salmon and orzo salad. We love it. I’d really like to know what you guys think.

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