Salmon Cakes with Creme Fraiche Tartar Sauce

We've been meaning to post this recipe for over a week now, but it's been super busy around here. I've been busy with my new job and Noah has been busy with work. In between we've put up a Christmas tree, decorated our front porch with lights, crafted some Christmas presents, and attended a Christmas party where we chatted for 4 hours with the hosts about our upcoming trip to Spain. We would have gone to a holiday cookie party too, but Noah decided to go snowboarding instead. Still kind of bitter about that.... Especially since we just got our stand mixer delivered to our door! Don't worry, cookies are still happening. 

The first batch of these salmon cakes happened a long time ago. Like beginning-of-my-first-recipe-log-book-that-is-now-full long time ago. But they were so good that I actually remembered to make them again for a photo shoot. We have a (dwindling) supply of fresh-frozen salmon thanks to Noah's dad who is a fisherman up in Alaska, but unfortunately some of our filets  got freezer burn in our chest freezer, so I decided to turn them into salmon cakes. It was an excellent idea! They they are so good! I'm about 75% confident that canned salmon would work well here too if you can't get your hands on fresh or frozen salmon. 

// Salmon Cakes with Dill Creme Fraiche // makes 6-8 cakes
As I mentioned above, you could probably get away with using canned salmon in this recipe. 1 1/2 lbs of fresh salmon is 24 ounces of canned.  Given the option, though, I always go with the freshest possible. These make a great small meal or are perfect as an appetizer. 

1 1/2 lbs fresh or frozen (thawed) salmon, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup panko + more for crusting (about 1 cup)
1 egg
1/2 cup grated parmesan or sheep's milk cheese
1/4 cup red onion, finely minced
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt
Black pepper

5 oz creme fraiche or 1/2 cup plain yogurt (not greek)
1/2 cup seeded cucumber, finely diced
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon red onion, finely chopped
Pinch of salt and pepper (to taste)

~4 tablespoons oil for frying (I use sunflower or safflower)

1. In a large bowl combine the salmon through black pepper (using 1 cup of panko). Mix well

2. Place about 1 cup of panko on a large plate. Form the salmon mixture into 6-8 patties, depending on what size you want them. One at a time crust the salmon cakes on both sides with the panko and place on a clean plate. 

3. Gently heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-low heat in a large skillet. When the oil is hot add 3-4 patties and cook for 4-6 minutes or until the undersides are golden. Flip and cook another 4-6 minutes. Remove from pan and place patties on a paper towel-covered plate. Add another 2 tablespoons of oil to pan and repeat with remaining salmon cakes.

4. To make the tarter sauce, combine the creme fraiche or yogurt, cucumber, dill, red onion, and salt in pepper in a small bowl. Mix well and add more seasonings if needed.

5. Serve salmon cakes hot with a small spoonful of tater sauce.