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Marie’s Salmon Cakes

  • October 18, 2022

Like many of you, I’m a big fan of salmon, but I usually make salmon filets, not salmon cakes. However, I wanted to post something from my friend, Marie, of Proud Italian Cook,  not just because she has great recipes, but for another important reason. Please read to the end to find out why. She has posted so many good recipes over the years, it was hard to choose which to make. But in the end, I decided it was time to try her salmon cakes. They did not disappoint. They were exquisitely delicious and a nice change from the typical salmon filets. I added the red pepper aioli to serve with them, because I love aioli on anything, from sandwiches to a vegetable dip.

Marie starts by sauteeing the minced vegetables, then letting them cool for a bit before adding to the salmon, which is fresh from the fish market, not canned.

I bought about a pound of salmon (Marie’s recipe uses about 1 1/2 pounds) and ch0pped it with a knife — not so fine that it was like mincemeat, but with pieces that were recognizable as salmon. One pound was plenty for two people and it made four large cakes. I even had one salmon cake left over since we were too stuffed to each finish two of them.

Mix everything together with a wooden spoon. It smelled so good just in its raw state, with all the seasonings, that we knew they’d be even better after they were cooked.

I used a muffin cutter to shape the salmon cakes. Press down with a spoon to make them compact, then gently lift the form. It came off easily. Marie suggests letting them chill for at least two hours to avoid having them fall apart while cooking. Well, I was impatient and waited only an hour, and it worked out fine. I dusted them with bread crumbs after they had chilled for a while.

Then I sauteed them in a saucepan on both sides with a little olive oil, before placing them in the oven to finish at 450 degrees F.

Mine took about ten minutes in the oven to cook, but they were quite thick. Depending on how thick you make them, you might need less, or more time in the oven. Serve them as is, with a squirt of lemon, or with this simple red pepper aioli sauce I made in the blender. These were so good I plan to make them for company real soon.

Now, the other reason I am posting this recipe of Marie’s, is to lend support to a friend who has recently been diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer. Marie has just started treatment for this dreaded scourge and her challenge is formidable. In solidarity and to honor his mother, Marie’s son has signed up to run the Boston marathon in her name to raise money for cancer research. Although we initially met on the blogosphere, I’ve also met Marie in person, and she is just as sweet and sincere in real life as she comes across on her blog. She has given so much to her readers with her recipes over the last nearly 15 years, let’s show her that we’re behind her 100 percent in the fight of her life. If you can, here’s the link where you can donate:

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what’s cooking in Ciao Chow Linda’s kitchen each day (and more)

5.0 from 2 reviews
Marie's Salmon Cakes
  • 1-1/2 lbs. fresh salmon or 4 filets, skin removed. hand chopped into small chunks ( I was able to make 7 cakes with that amount)
  • 1 celery stalk, small dice
  • ¼ onion, small dice
  • 2 green onions, sliced small
  • 2 small mini red peppers or half of a large red pepper, small dice
  • 1 yellow mini pepper or ¼ of a large, small dice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • a pinch of cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped fine
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chopped parsley
  • ⅓ cup full fat mayo
  • ⅓ cup panko bread crumbs and a little extra to coat the top and bottom of the cakes
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 red pepper, roasted, or sliced and sauteed in olive oil until limp
  • 6 cloves garlic, sauteed in olive oil until soft (I sauteed them with the red pepper)
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • dash of paprika
  • juice of half a lemon
  1. Drizzle the bottom of a small sauté pan with olive oil and toss in all the diced veggies, onions, peppers, celery and garlic, cooking until translucent. Turn off heat and let them cool down completely.
  2. Into a bowl add the chopped salmon, the cooled down veggies, the mayo, zest, breadcrumbs and Djon and a little salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Gently toss well to incorporate ingredients.
  4. Form your salmon cakes into 3x1 inch deep patties. Note: I use a biscuit cutter to form mine as stated in the post.
  5. Refrigerate the salmon cakes for at least 2 or more hours for best results, I would not form and then cook them right away.
  6. When it's time to cook, heat the oven up to 450F.
  7. Drizzle the bottom of an oven proof skillet with olive oil.
  8. Pour some panko breadcrumbs on a flat plate and press the bottom and top of each salmon cake into it then into the heated 1 skillet.
  9. When each cake is lightly golden on each side place the oven proof skillet into the oven and finish it off, anywhere to around 6 or 8 additional minutes, oven vary so you be the judge.
  10. Serve with a squeeze of lemon and tartar sauce, or an aioli of your choice.
  12. Saute the red pepper and garlic with a tablespoon olive oil over low heat until softened.
  13. Do not brown the garlic.
  14. Place the garlic, red pepper, mayonnaise, paprika and lemon juice in a blender and whir until smooth.
  15. It may be thin, but it thickens as it sits.
  16. Serve room temperature with the salmon cakes.
  17. It's also good as a dip, or a spread on sandwiches.

A “Whelk-come” Fish Soup

  • December 3, 2012

 Part of the joy of traveling to foreign countries is sampling foods you don’t normally eat every day. This fish soup is one of them. When I’m traveling, I’m likely to choose fish at a restaurant — anything from waterzooi in Belgium, brodetto in Italy, or crab soup in Maryland. A lot of times I think I’m being virtuous by staying away from a fat-laden steak, but truth be told, I make up for the calories and cholesterol with all the cakes and pastries I can’t resist afterwards. I do really love fish though, and am always ready to try something new. When I ordered this fish soup at dinner one night on my recent trip to Provence, it came complete with three shells resting on top – unlike any other I’ve ever eaten.

  If you’re thinking they look similar to snails, that’s because they are a kind sea snail. They’re called “whelks” and they’re found all over the world, even in New Jersey. They’re commonly eaten in Europe, and the Japanese like to use them in sushi.  Some varieties are poisonous however, so don’t gather them on a beach and try to cook them if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you want to read more about them, you’ll find a wealth of information here.
Actually, they taste a little rubbery and I can’t say I’d go out of my way to eat them. But they were part of this delicious fish soup I ate on my recent trip to Provence with Bliss Travels, and I certainly would go out of my way to eat this soup again. It’s a lot different from other fish soups I’ve eaten, partly because of the variety of spices used in the recipe. I bought some of the spices one day at a local market in the village, hoping to recreate the soup at home.
Wendy Jaeger, owner of Bliss Travels, explained that there are two kinds of fish soup – bouillabaisse and soupe de poisson. The one I ate (in the photos above) was neither, but rather a “nouvelle” interpretation.  Soupe de Poisson is a fish-based broth, cooked with tomato, fennel, leek, saffron, and onion, and is typically strained after being pureed, Wendy said. It’s also served with croutons,  aioli (kissin’ cousin to mayonnaise but with garlic) or rouille (a spicier version, made with cayenne pepper and sometimes saffron too) and shredded cheese. In the photo below, you can see the small bowls of cheese and rouille alongside my fish soup.
  Bouillabaisse is properly made with fish from the Mediterranean only, Wendy said, one of which is rascasse (scorpion fish). First the broth, similar to the soupe de poisson, is made. Pastis, an anise flavored liqueur, is often added as well. Then whole steamed fish (sometimes boiled slightly in the broth — but never overcooked) are brought out on a platter, along with potatoes and other accompaniments. You then filet the fish you like and place a bit of each into your bowl of broth. The soup and sauces are replenished until you are finished.
The rich, red color in the fish soup pictured above comes from a variety of sources – a reduction of the shellfish shells, as well as the addition of saffron, tomato and sometimes red pepper. Not all fish soups have a red color, however, as you can see from the photos of fish soups I ate on other nights during the trip.


This was a bouillabaisse with freshly caught local fish, served with rouille and a slice of toasted baguette smeared with an olive paste.
 Another day I ate a fish stew served with rice and vegetables. It included a bright red crayfish.
 On my last night there, I chose this small casserole of scallops, shrimp and mussels as my first course — not really a fish soup in the traditional sense, but it deserves to be included because it was so delicious and beautiful too, with a crispy topping.
 How I’d love to be sitting in one of those restaurants right now, enjoying one of those dishes. But in the absence of a flight to Provence, Wendy’s recipe for Soupe de Poisson will have to suffice. If you want to put on your traveling shoes, and you’re looking for a great holiday getaway though, check out Wendy’s upcoming trip to Paris.


Soupe de Poisson
courtesy of Wendy Jaeger, Bliss Travels
“My Soupe de Poisson recipe is a hybrid, and has been adapted for the U.S. It is also much quicker to make.  (I would never ever use tomato paste in France, but find it’s a necessity to use here.) What I have done is make a broth that we eat with just the accompaniments — or for more full and formal dining, it’s a broth that we can add fish to it, to make it into a quasi-bouillabaisse. I do not strain it, just puree it. I prefer the fuller feel with the lighter flavor.  Mine is very light and vegetable oriented and I make a saffron and garlic aioli, because that is my preference and I am not a big lover of pepper.” – Wendy


cup olive oil
small garlic cloves, chopped
½ cups of chopped sweet onion
½ cups of chopped leek, white and light green only
cup of chopped fennel
½ – 5 cups tomato (peeled, seeded and chopped)
cups of white wine
cups water  (or fish stock)
Tablespoons of tomato paste, depending upon the flavor of the fresh tomatoes
used above
Tablespoons of fresh thyme, leaves only
¾ teaspoon of fennel seed
2 bay leaves
-2 inch strips of orange peel
to ¾  teaspoon of saffron
and pepper
ounces filet of skinned flaky white fish, such as snapper, sole or halibut
additional fish for poaching (a variety of bass, halibut, scallop, shrimp,
mussels…are all good choices)
a large soup pot, heat oil, then add garlic, stir for a moment, add onion, leek
and fennel. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes until
vegetables soften. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer
mixture for 45 minutes to an hour. Use an immersion blender to thoroughly
blend, after removing bay leaves.
the whitefish and bring soup to a slow boil, check seasoning, adding salt if
necessary. Boil until fish is done, five minutes or so. Break up fish into fine
flakes with a fork, or by pulsing the immersion blender just briefly.
using additional fish, poach the fish at the last minute and add whole.
wide, shallow soup bowls, place poached fish on bottom of bowl, ladle hot soup
over fish, and serve with croutons, aioli (garlic mayonnaise with saffron, white
wine, lemon and salt), and shredded parmesan or comte cheese on the table.