One of the things I love about my visits to the weekly farmers market (besides all the fantastic inspiration it gives me!) is the tradition of having a slow morning (which is usually an early afternoon). Besides stopping at a multitude of stands, I love to enjoy a fish sandwich and a coffee after all our shopping is done. And since I can’t get a burger made from wild pacific caught salmon here in Hamburg, I enjoy what is called a “Lachsfrikadelle” a.k.a salmon cakes. Nothing compares to salmon on the Westcoast. Taste, color, freshness…everything. But there is one stand in particular at the Isemarkt that offers fantastic tasting salmon cakes (Frikadeller). And without even trying to recreate their version, I created my own — with the subtle Asian flavors of soy sauce, lime juice and fresh cilantro. It was so tasty I couldn’t imagine sticking it in a bun. I served it with a simple Asian coleslaw the first evening, and a refreshing Mediterranean bean and cucumber salad the next. And I have to tell you. These salmon cakes are fantastic cold!
Quinoa-Salmon Cakes (Frikadeller)
Makes 6 patties (or 8 smaller ones)
1 cup cooked quinoa (ca. 130 g)
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds + 6 tablespoons hot water
1/2 cup fine cut rolled oats, ground into a flour (or use store bought oat flour) (50 g)
500 g salmon fillet, skin removed (preferably wild or MCS certified)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 sweet pointed red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 large handful fresh chopped cilantro
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil (for frying)
To cook the quinoa, rinse 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Place in a medium pot and cover with 3/4 cups water. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and then cover with a tight fitting lid. Simmer covered for 15 minutes until most of the water is absorbed and the quinoa is light and fluffy. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and then place lid back on to steam for another 4-5 minutes. NOTE: this makes a little more than double the cooked quinoa you need for this recipe, so you will have leftover quinoa which can be added to a salad, soup or whatever else you like!
1. Mix the ground flaxseeds and hot water in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes or so to thicken.
2. To make homemade oat flour, blend the oats in a high speed blender on the highest speed until a fine flour forms. Alternatively use store bought oat flour.
3. Add the salmon to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it is finely chopped (you can leave a few chunks if you like). Add the quinoa and oat flour and process again until the mixture reaches the desired consistency.
NOTE: Alternately, if you don’t have a food processor, you can chop the salmon very finely with a sharp knife. This is quite a bit of work though! Keep in mind, the more he mixture resembles “ground meat” the easier it will be to get it to stick together in the end.
4. In a second bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, and soy sauce. Add the red pepper, onion, and cilantro; stir until well combined. Fold in the flaxseed mixture, and then the salmon mixture. Once fully combined, divide the mixture into six equal parts and shape each into a ball.
IMPORTANT: Pack them tightly so they hold together better. Then flatten a little to resemble thick patties.
5. Heat a medium grill pan or heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, reduce the heat to medium, and cook the salmon patties, in batches, until golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Gently turn them over and brown the opposite sides for an additional 3-4 minutes (less if you do smaller patties). Transfer the cooked patties to a plate. Enjoy warm or cold!
TIP: Alternatively the patties can be baked in a preheated oven set to 400°F / 200°C. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully flip cakes, and bake for another 8-10 minutes until golden and firm. Cool for 5 minutes on the sheet and then enjoy!
6. Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
I served mine with a simple Asian salad made from shredded oxheart cabbage and fennel tossed in this dressing:
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
freshly ground pepper, to taste