There must be thousands of fish cake recipes on the internet, and I’ve read dozens. The basic equation is fish + binders to hold everything together + vegetable oil to fry. What’s usually used as binders are eggs, mayonnaise, and breadcrumbs. But mayo and vegetable oils are unhealthy fats, I tend to avoid wheat flour, and I wanted to bump up the nutrition, especially omega-3s. So this recipe uses yogurt, chia seeds, and almond flour, then avocado oil to fry, which is higher in omega-3s and also has a high smoke point. Voila.
Spicy Baked Salmon Cakes
Serves 4 (Eight 2-inch cakes) // 555 calories, 10 net grams carbs
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup probiotic unflavored full-fat organic yogurt
2 tablespoons sambal oelek
1 tablespoon finely chopped scallions, plus more for serving
1/2 cup celery, small dice
1/2 cup red bell pepper, small dice
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, small dice
16 ounces canned wild-caught Alaska salmon, drained, picked through, flaked
(you can, of course, use fresh or frozen salmon that has been cooked)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
1—2/3 cups fine blanched almond flour
2 large eggs, beaten
Soak the chia seeds in 1/2 a cup water. Set a timer for 20 minutes.
Place the yogurt, sambal, and scallions in a small bowl and mix to combine. Transfer 1/3 cup of the mixture to a medium bowl. Set aside the remaining mixture for serving.
Mince all the vegetables.
Add the minced vegetables, salmon, chia seeds (when they’ve finished soaking), and lemon juice to the medium bowl and gently fold into the spicy yogurt mixture. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Divide the salmon mixture into eight 1/4-cup portions and place on a large baking sheet. Using your hands, form each into a 2-inch-wide patty. Place back on the baking sheet. Refrigerate while you prepare the dredging station.
You will need two large pie pans for dredging: Place the almond flour in the first one. Place the beaten eggs in the second.
Working with one patty at a time, dredge a patty in the almond flour, then in the egg, and finally back to the almond flour again, making sure it is evenly coated. The salmon cake will be somewhat soft and may fall apart slightly during dredging — just roughly pat it back together when it’s all coated. Place back on the baking sheet.
Cover the surface of a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with coconut oil. Using a pancake flipper, place each breaded patty, one at a time, on the foil and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.
Serve with leftover spicy yogurt mixture and as a side, a big spinach salad with tomatoes and cucumbers.
Fry: You can pan-fry these patties in unrefined cold-pressed avocado oil (it has the high smoke point needed for frying), but this will add to the fat and calories.
Make ahead: The dredged patties can be refrigerated for up to 3 hours before cooking.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in a low-temperature oven.