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Fish 4 Friday: Salmon Croquettes That’ll Spice Up Your Life

This entry is part of a series, F4F 2011»

Salmon Croquettes

What is a croquette, anyway? According to the standard of truth these days, a croquette is

… a small fried food roll containing usually as main ingredients mash potatoes, and/or minced meat (veal, beef, chicken, or turkey), shellfish, fish, vegetables, and soaked white bread, egg, onion, spices and herbs, wine, milk, beer or any of the combination thereof, sometimes with a filling, often encased in breadcrumbs.

That really clears things right up. I think you’ve only ruled out grilled steak and rice pudding with that description. Okay, maybe Scotch whiskey is out as well.

So what are these things anyways? Here’s what another cook told me, once: It depends. (No wonder my forehead’s getting flat.)

Actually, there are only a few real “requirements.” First, they need to have some crunch. The word Croquette comes from the French croquer, “to crunch.” Usually that’s accomplished by having some sort of breading or casing of crumbs, and then pan-frying (or sometimes deep-frying) the things. Another requirement: They have to have something on the inside. Something diced or minced up. Meat, fish, vegetables, whatever.

My family prefers salmon as the main ingredient. Oh, lots of other things can go in there too, but usually it’s only salmon. All the rest of the fixings go into the crunchy delivery system. I’ve fine-tuned a recipe for salmon croquettes. Thing is, my family doesn’t like them this way! Maybe you will:

Zesty Salmon Croquettes

  • 1 can (15 oz) red or pink salmon, drained
  • ½ medium yellow onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 12−15 saltine crackers, crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced jalapeño or Serrano pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup canola or peanut oil

Round Croquettes

Place the salmon in a medium-sized glass mixing bowl and mash it around with a fork. Add minced onion, lemon juice, egg, cayenne, minced chiles, cilantro and parsley. Mix together gently; don’t overwork! Shape the resulting mixture into six croquettes. These can be logs, balls or patties, as you prefer.

Crush the saltines. (One easy way: use a rolling pin on them! Put them between two sheets of wax paper or plastic film. I use a small food processor; just be sure not to grind them too fine or you’ll have powder.) Put the crumbs into a shallow bowl and, using one croquette at a time, press crumbs onto the fish mix to coat evenly. Heat oil in a deep-sided skillet over medium heat. Fry croquettes until golden brown on all sides.

This recipe makes four to six servings, depending on the appetite of the diners and the amount of accompaniments served. Of course, if you like things mild, get rid of the cayenne and chiles, and use simple black pepper to taste. The Chile Underground won’t be held responsible, though, if you don’t like them that way…

Enjoy the (Croaking Salmon) Heat!

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