Indian Spiced Salmon Cakes

Indian Spiced Salmon Cakes - A Pat & A Pinch Being fortunate to live on the west coast, we eat a lot of pacific salmon. We also benefit from the wisdom of chef Vikram Vij who seems to present an endless supply of innovative ideas for local products. This is his recipe with some very minor modifications. I love my mother’s Pan Fried Salmon Cakes with Dill Sauce that I posted some time ago, but these are equally as good and are easier to make, once you have the ingredients on hand. I make them with garam masala, rather than the cumin alternative, as the spice mixture imparts a more complex flavor profile, but either would be good. If you don’t have or can’t find ajwain seeds, you can substitute a little oregano for a somewhat similar flavour.

I usually serve them on fresh greens with a light dressing and some mango chutney, but small sized ones also make an excellent appy that can be made ahead and reheated in the oven on a cookie sheet. Indian Spiced Salmon Cakes - A Pat & A Pinch 1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 egg

1 pound fresh wild salmon

1/2 pound boiled and mashed russet potato or a little more (I like it coarsely mashed to provide a little more texture to the cake)

1/4 pound boiled or microwaved then coarsely mashed yam

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/3 cup finely sliced spring onions or chopped onion

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh jalapeno peppers

1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala or 1 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ajwain seeds

1 tablespoon salt (or less to taste)

1/2 cup canola oil for pan frying

Mango chutney to garnish

Lightly pound coriander seeds in a mortar or on a plate with a heavy spoon. (You just want to break the seeds in half.) Set aside.

Beat the egg in a small bowl. If you are using fresh salmon, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Immerse salmon and cook for five minutes. Remove from the heat, drain and allow the salmon to cool. Peel off the skin.

Thoroughly combine all ingredients except the oil in a large mixing bowl. With your hands, form round cakes about two and a half inches in diameter and three-quarters to one inch thick. Set them on a baking tray.

Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a shallow nonstick frying pan on high heat. Once the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium so the cakes don’t stick to the bottom of the pan or burn. Place two cakes in the pan and cook for two to three minutes. Turn the cakes over and cook for another two to three minutes. The cakes should be brown and crispy on both sides. Repeat, using one tablespoon of the oil for each two cakes, until all the cakes are cooked.

Serve the cakes as they are done, or keep warm on a plate in the oven. Serves 6

Blackberry & King Apple Crumble

My parent’s home on Salt Spring Island has a small orchard and is, like much of the island, surrounded by blackberry bushes. The blackberries are perfect for the picking this time of the year and this year, our gravenstein trees are ready to harvest. While the gravensteins aren’t the best for baking with, we keep a supply of apples from our old King apple. (This year for fathers’ day, I got my dad a new one which I have since named B.B. King – these are his favourite and I thought the name was rather clever). The other trees in the orchard are great for cider and should be ready to harvest within the next month.

We have a mechanism which cores and slices the apples as you turn the crank and which gets a lot of use this time of year (apple butter to come). If you are preparing a lot of apples, these are a godsend. To preserve our extra apples, we then freeze the cored and sliced apples for crumbles to come.

This crumble (or crisp as you may wish to call it) is a slightly modified version of Betty Crocker’s Apple Crisp recipe, the main modification being blackberries.

Blackberry and King Apple Crumble - A Pat & A Pinch

Blackberry and King Apple Crumble

3 cups sliced apples (we use king apples for their perfect tartness and texture)

5 cups blackberries

3 tbsp corn starch

1 1/2 c. brown sugar

1 c. flour

1 c. oats

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg (fresh – if you want to know if your nutmegs are fresh enough, prick them with a pin and oil ought to ooze out)

2/3 c. butter

1 c. chopped pecans

Preheat the over to 375 F. Fill a greased 9 x 13 inch glass dish with the fruit. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the fruit. Mix together the sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, and work the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers.  Mix in the pecans and spread this crumb mixture gently over the fruit.

Bake until the top is golden brown, the apples are tender, and the fruit mixture is bubbling (approx. 40 minutes). If the top begins too brown too much before the fruit is cooked, gently lay a piece of parchment over the pan to slow the browning.

Blackberry and King Apple Crumble - A Pat & A Pinch

Herbed Gruyere and Buttermilk Scones

Herbed Gruyere and Buttermilk Scones - A Pat & A Pinch

On a cool weekend morning, I love to pull together a batch of warm savoury scones and enjoy them with a cup or two of my favourite tea.  There are different types of scones: these are based on a buttermilk biscuit recipe that results in a light scone that has many tender layers. They are quick to make and quick to eat.

Today I had some leftover gruyere which I used.  An old cheddar also makes a delicious scone.  I prefer to be able to “find” the cheese in my scones so I slice it thinly and then chop it into small pieces – each piece is roughly 1/2 x 1/4 x 1/32 inch in size.  Grated cheese disperses more consistently throughout the scone but is a little quicker to prepare if you are pressed for time.  It is a matter of choice.  If you are not a huge rosemary fan, thyme or an herbes de provence mix also work well.

These scones don’t need to be buttered, but a little extra butter doesn’t hurt them one bit. They are also nice with jam.  Alternatively, they are delicious with a little cured ham or hard sausage.  Today, I enjoyed them with some duck prosciutto and some lamb prosciutto from Oyama Sausage on Granville Island in Vancouver.

Herbed Gruyere and Buttermilk Scones - A Pat & A Pinch

Herbed Gruyere and Buttermilk Scones

2 1/2 c. flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

2 tbsp. sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c. unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

1/2 c. buttermilk

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 c. gruyere cheese (or any hard cheese you have on hand), grated, or cut into small thin pieces

cracked black pepper

2 tbsp dried rosemary, broken down

1 egg

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a bowl and cut in the flour until it is well blended and the consistency of coarse oatmeal. I recommend using your fingers rubbing the butter and flour mixture into flakes between your thumb and first two fingers. Mix the gruyere, rosemary and pepper into the flour mixture and create a well in the center. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk with the baking soda and egg and beat the mixture. Add the almost all of the liquid mixture to the the flour and butter mixture, reserving a little (about a tablespoon)  for a wash (see below).

Using a dough scraper, quickly combine the dry and wet ingredients to form what my mom calls a “shaggy mass”.  As soon as the dough begins to come together, stop.

Flour a surface and dump the contents of the dough bowl onto it.  Gather the dough bits into a rectangle, then fold the rectangle into thirds. Flatten the new rectangle gently by pressing on it.  Scoop up any loose bits with the dough scraper and toss them onto the new rectangle. Fold in thirds again. Repeat this process just until the former “shaggy mass”  forms a soft dough (no more than 6 or 7 turns). Roll out the dough to a 1″ thickness.

If you forgot to reserve a little of the liquid for a wash, beat an egg with 1 tbsp of milk and a pinch of salt to create an egg wash or just use a little heavy cream or buttermilk. Using a glass or round cookie cutter, cut the dough into rounds flouring the cutter between each cut to minimize sticking. After cutting as many pieces as possible, gather up the leftover bits, press them together forming a new rectangle, rolling it to an even 1″ thickness and cut some more rounds.  The less you can work the dough to accomplish this the better – the scones will get tougher the more the dough is worked.  Place the rounds on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment (for easy cleanup) and glaze them with the wash being careful to only put wash on the tops – having wash on the sides will impair the ability of the scone to rise .  Bake for about 15 minutes, until they are golden-brown in color.

N.B. If you prefer a less savoury scone, you can replace the cheese and herbs with dried cranberries (1/2 c.) and citrus zest (a few teaspoons), currants (1/2 c.), or make them plain.

 

Marzipan Strawberry Shortcakes

My mother has always been a phenomenal cook and aside from a handful of family recipes, she has honed her skills putting hours of love and dedication in in the kitchen.  This recipe was taught to her in a cooking course at an Italian restaurant in Chicago that has been long since forgotten by our family aside from these.  They are not your everyday spongecake strawberry shortcakes, but rather are marzipan filled sweet biscuits which are more traditional, photogenic, and delicious than their modern bakery aisle counterpart.

This recipe, depending on the size of each shortcake you choose, makes approximately 8-10 shortcakes.DSC_0033

Marzipan Strawberry Shortcakes

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons baking powder

4 ounces butter, cold

4 ounces almond paste broken into small chunks

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 whole eggs

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

sliced almonds

To serve:

Fresh berries

Whipping cream

Heat the oven to 350 F. A convection oven is preferred but not necessary.

Stir together the flour, 1/3 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. When this is incorporated, slowly work in the almond paste and the cold butter that has been cut into pieces. Work this together until the mixture appears to be like a coarse meal.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and the almond extract. When this is incorporated, add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix only until the dough starts to form. You will probably not need all of the liquid ingredients.

Knead the dough slightly. Pat the dough out to a one inch thickness using as little flour as needed so that the dough does not stick to the work surface.

Using a round cutter, cut the dough into individual servings. It is helpful to dip the cutting edge of the cutter in flour prior to making each cut. Place the round disks onto a lightly greased flat baking pan or a pan lined with parchment or a silpat. Brush the tops with the left over liquid and sprinkle with the sliced almonds and the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to cool. Slice horizontally and fill with berries and whipping cream as desired.

Marzipan Strawberry Shortcakes - A Pat & A Pinch Marzipan Strawberry Shortcakes - A Pat & A Pinch

Pan Fried Salmon Cakes with Dill-Mustard Sauce

Living on the west coast, good salmon is easy to come by.  For this recipe, we typically use Pink or Coho fillets as opposed to the more coveted Sockeye.  The dill-mustard sauce is an absolute must with this recipe as the two compliment each other perfectly, although we serve the sauce on the side as some of us like to take more than others.
Pan-Fried Salmon Cakes with Dill-Mustard Sauce - A Pat & A Pinch

Pan-Fried Salmon Cakes with Dill-Mustard Sauce

Salmon Cakes

1/2 kg poached salmon (boned and flaked)

1/4 c. wild rice, uncooked

1/2 c. bread crumbs

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp. fresh dill, finely chopped

1 tbsp. capers, finely chopped

1 tbsp. horseradish

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 large egg, beaten

1/4 cup mayonnaise

salt and pepper

3 tbsp. flour

1 tsp. paprika

butter

Dill-Mustard Sauce

2 ½ tbsp. grainy mustard

2 ½ tbsp. honey mustard

1 tbsp. white wine vinegar

1 tbsp. honey

8 tbsp. fresh dill, finely chopped

Boil the wild rice until cooked. In a large bowl, mix the salmon, wild rice, breadcrumbs, onion, dill, capers, horseradish, and lemon juice. Add and combine the beaten eggs and mayonnaise to bind. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place flour in a shallow dish and season with salt, pepper and paprika. Using your hands, form the salmon mixture into thick patties. Lightly coat each patty in the seasoned flour and refrigerate for at least half an hour ensuring that they are in a single layer or there is parchment paper between the layers.

To prepare the sauce, whisk together the mustards and incorporate the vinegar and honey. Stir in the dill and refrigerate until the meal is ready to be served.

When ready to cook the salmon cakes, melt some butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add as many patties as will comfortably fit in the pan and sauté, turning once, until golden brown on both sides (approximately 5 minutes on each side). Cooked cakes can be kept warm in the oven on a low temperature until the whole batch is ready to be served. Add more butter to the pan if needed.

Serve the cakes with the sauce. We like to serve them over a simple green salad with a light vinaigrette that does not compete with the dill-mustard sauce.

Pan-Fried Salmon Cakes with Dill-Mustard Sauce - A Pat & A Pinch

Pan-Fried Salmon Cakes with Dill-Mustard Sauce - A Pat & A Pinch

 

Minted Lemon Pappardelle with Butter-Seared Baby Scallops

To celebrate exams being finished and having the luxury of time to cook and enjoy a proper meal, I made one of my favourite pasta recipes today. The recipe is based on a re-creation of a shrimp dish I used to enjoy at a long defunct restaurant. At this point, I don’t think that my dish bears much resemblance to the inspiration dish, other than pasta, lemon and mint. As you may have ascertained looking through my blog posts, I am a huge fan of lemon anything. Adding mint to it takes it up a notch.  The freshness of this dish is the perfect compliment to the approaching warm weather and sunshine.

Minted Lemon Pappardelle with Butter-Seared Baby Scallops - A Pat & A Pinch

Minted Lemon Pappardelle with Butter-Seared Baby Scallops - A Pat & A Pinch

Minted Lemon Pappardelle with Butter-Seared Baby Scallops

Serves: 4

1 large shallot, yielding 3 tablespoons finely chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup white wine

4 cups chicken stock

500 grams fresh pappardelle or linguine

5 tablespoons butter, 3 of which should be kept cold.

400 grams scallops

zest and juice of 2 or 3 large lemons (2 -3 teaspoons zest, 3 tablespoons juice, to taste)

salt and pepper, to taste

generous handful of chopped fresh mint

Saute the shallots in the olive oil in a large sauté pan or frying pan until translucent. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the chicken stock and lemon zest. Simmer vigorously to reduce to 1 1/2 to 2 cups of liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set to the side in the sauté pan.

Drain and dry the scallops. Heat a skillet on high heat. When hot, reduce the heat to medium and add 2 tablespoons of the butter allowing it to melt and coat the surface of the skillet. Brown the scallops on one side, turn to brown the other side. Do not over cook. Remove from the pan and set to the side, reserving the browned butter.

Cook the fresh pasta as directed on the package. Drain.

Re-heat the reduced liquids in the sauté pan. Add the lemon juice and reserved butter and browned bits from the scallops to the sauce, stirring to incorporate. Taste for seasoning. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the drained pasta, scallops and mint turning gently to marry them. Serve with a glass of crisp white wine.

Minted Lemon Pappardelle with Butter-Seared Baby Scallops - A Pat & A Pinch

I also make this pasta substituting cooked salmon or shrimp for the scallops. I increase the cold butter slightly depending on whether there are juices with oil or butter resulting from their preparation that I can incorporate into the sauce.