Salmon Cakes

November 29th, 2012


David asked me to make salmon cakes for him last week.  I had a can of salmon in the pantry.  I threw together a hasty batch of them and although they were good, they were not memorable.  He is nothing if not persistent.  He researched different recipes, finally settled on a Barefoot Contessa recipe, bought all of the ingredients and made a batch himself.



This recipe used fresh salmon, lots of fresh vegetables and Old Bay Seasoning.  It seemed like he was in the kitchen for hours.  I have learned that when he is cooking it is wise to move my pretty rug that is usually in front of the stove and make myself scarce.   Things tend to fly.



His salmon cakes were delicious.  He had almost decided that they were too much trouble until we tasted them.  Wow!  Leave it to the Barefoot Contessa to have the perfect recipe.  And he cleaned up the kitchen too.  Think I’ll keep both him and this recipe.


SALMON CAKES ( The Barefoot Contessa )

1/2 pound fresh salmon
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
1 1/2 cups small-diced celery (4 stalks)
1/2 cup small-diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup small-diced yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
3 slices stale bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the salmon on a sheet pan, skin side down.  Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until just cooked.  Remove from the oven and cover tightly with aluminum foil.  Allow to rest for 10 miutes nd refrigerate until cold.

Meanwhile, place 2 tablespoons of the butter 2 tablespoons olive oil, the onion, celery, red and yellow bell peppers, parsley, capers, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce,  crab boil seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt , and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large saute pan over medium-low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.  Cool to room temperature.

Break the bread slices in pieces and process the bread in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  You should have about 1 cup of bread crumbs.  Place the read crumbs on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 5 minutes until lightly browned, tossing occasionally.

Flake the chilled salmon inot a large bowl.  Add the bread crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, and eggs.  Add the vegetable mixture and mix well.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Shape into 10 cakes.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  In batches, add the salmon cakes and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until browned.  Drain on paper towels; keep them warm in a preheated 250 degree F oven and serve hot.


Printable recipe


Shrimp and Arugula Pasta

November 7th, 2012

It is good to be back in The Sunshine State.  As much as we love the North Carolina mountains, a change of scene can be invigorating and cleansing.  My thoughts on cooking change with the environment also.  I left my Kitchen Aid mixer and food processor in the Lake Lure kitchen.  The meals I fix here are usually simple and straight forward.  We eat more seafood and try to get more exercise.

The local market had some beautiful wild jumbo shrimp so I adapted a Cooking Light recipe to make this pasta dish.  While visiting the kids I made a run through Trader Joe’s to pick up pantry staples for Florida.  Their lemon pepper pappardelle pasta goes very well with seafood.  Add a bunch of baby arugula and you have a meal in a dish.

So simple and easy!  There are changes coming to my blog.  I am in the process of moving over to Word Press so I hope you will stick with me.


1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
12 ounces pasta of choice, fusilli, linguine, pappardelle
3 cups (packed) fresh baby or regular arugula

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat.  Add the shallots and garlic and saute until translucent, about 2 minutes.  Add the red pepper flakes and white wine and bring to a simmer.  Simmer until the wine reduces by half, about 5 minutes.  Add the shrimp and cook just until they are pink, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Drain the pasta, saving some of the pasta water.  Add the pasta and the arugula to the skillet.  Toss to combine.  Season the pasta with salt and pepper and add a little pasta water if dry.  Transfer to a large bowl and serve.

Printable recipe

Salmon with Swiss Chard and Couscous

August 10th, 2012

In my last post I mentioned a salmon dish that I had at Fig, a French Bistro in Asheville.  I have been experimenting with it to see if I could duplicate it.  My finished dish is above. Below is the dish at Fig.

There are several steps that need to be done to get this dish on the plate and I had a few obstacles to overcome.  While I was preparing my salmon dish, violent thunderstorms were raging outside the house.  I expected that we would lose power at any second.  When you live in the mountains surrounded by trees, power outages are a regular occurrence, so my focus was a little scattered.

What makes the salmon, greens and couscous come together is the lemon, chive beurre blanc sauce.  I was not happy with the results the first time I made it, but the recipe I used this time was a winner.

You start by reducing wine, lemon juice and shallots.

When the sauce is reduced to a few tablespoons, add cold butter cubes a few at a time.  The sauce thickens to a silky consistency.  Then you add the snipped chives.

You can keep the sauce warm while you precede to the next steps.  For this dish I used red Swiss chard but you could use any of a number of greens; Rainbow chard, kale or micro-greens as was used in the dish when we had it in early Spring.   I like the stems of the red chard so I first sauteed them with some onions.

Add the washed greens and cook until  they are wilted.

I made the couscous next, but did not snap a picture of it.  When all of these components are ready you can begin your salmon.  The technique is very simple but produces great results.  Sprinkle the top of center cut salmon fillets with kosher or course sea salt.  Saute them in an iron skillet salted side down over high heat until they are golden brown.

After they are browned on one side, flip them over and place in the oven to finish cooking for a few minutes.

After that it is just a matter of assembly.  Place the couscous in a bowl, top with the sauteed greens, place the salmon on top and drizzle the beurre blanc around the edges of the bowl.

I was happy with the results.  The salmon was crusty on the top and flaky inside.  The beurre blanc was decadently delicious and we didn’t lose power until the meal was completed and the dishes were in the dishwasher.  All and all, it couldn’t have been better.


For theLemon Chive Beurre Blanc:
1 to 2 shallots, chopped fine
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
Salt and white pepper to taste
Snipped chives

Add shallots, wine and lemon juice to a saucepan and cook over high heat until it is reduced to about 1/4 cup.  Add the cream and heat until it bubbles.  Reduce the heat to low.  Add the butter a few cubes at a time and whisk on and off the heat until incorporated.  Continue with a few cubes at a time until all of the butter is added and the mixture is fully emulsified and has a creamy consistency.  Season with salt, white pepper and chives.  This will stay warm if you are using it within a 30 minute period.  Just whisk it occasionally.

For the Swiss Chard:

1 bunch of Red or Rainbow Chard
olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Wash the chard thoroughly in a sink full of cold water.  Remove the stems and chop the greens.  Using some of the stems, chop them along with the onion.  Saute stems and onion in a skillet until onion and stems are softened.  Add the drained greens and salt and pepper to taste.  Cover the skillet and cook the greens just until they are wilted.

For the Couscous:

Follow the instructions on the box or cook couscous in a pot of boiling water for about 10 minutes or until it is cooked through.  Drain and season with salt and pepper.

For the Salmon:

2 6 to 8 ounce center cut salmon fillets, skinned
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt or course sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Sprinkle salt on top side of salmon fillets.  Heat oil and butter in a skillet over high heat.  Add salmon fillets salted side down and cook over high heat until browned and crisp.  Turn fillets over.  Place pan in oven and roast until they are just flaky, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Assembly:  This dish is best plated in large individual bowls.  Add couscous to each bowl.  Top with greens. Place salmon fillets on top of each.  Drizzle beurre blanc around the edges of the dish.  Garnish with additional chives if desired.

Printable recipe

Scallops with Parsley, Pistachio Pasta

April 2nd, 2012

Fresh scallop season is now officially over.  It runs from November through March.  But that did not stop me from buying some (previously frozen) scallops from The market last week.  Our Friday night dinner was a simple one of flour dusted scallops with angel hair pasta coated with a pesto made from parsley instead of basil and pistachios instead of pine nuts.

After a week of putting the cottage back together, it was a relief to cook something simple.  It’s a shame that things will not just stay put together though.  The pollen is so heavy this year that I am heading back out to the porch today to clean and vacuum again.  Sigh.

At least we had a few leftovers for lunch over the weekend.  I think you will love this dish.  The scallops are sweet and the pasta is one that I could eat all by itself.  The lemon and parley accented freshness makes it feel light and decadent at the same time.  This is perfect for an easy meal for two.

SCALLOPS WITH PARLEY, PISTACHIO PASTA ( adapted from Cooking Light )

1 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped pistachios
The zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound of sea scallops
1/4 cup flour
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups hot cooked angel hair pasta (about 4 ounces uncooked pasta)
Pasta water as needed

Place first 8 ingredients in a food processor, and process until mixture is smooth, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.

Combine scallops, flour and salt in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and shake to coat.

Heat butter and oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add scallops and cook 3 minutes on each side or until done.

Combine parsley mixture and pasta in a large bowl. tossing gently.  Add a little pasta water if it is dry.  Arrange pasta on a platter and top with scallops.  2 servings with enough for leftovers.

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Cajun Shrimp Stew

December 29th, 2011

Here is an easy shrimp dish with a New Orleans slant.  We have been traveling so much this holiday season that I have found easy meals, while we are home, the only option.  We got back to Florida yesterday and are heading to Charleston for New Years with our friends tomorrow.

Enjoy the New Year’s celebrations and I will see you back here in 2012.  My blog’s 4th anniversary is approaching and I will be having a giveaway and hopefully a new look.

CAJUN SHRIMP STEW (Gourmet Magazine)

2 tablespoons vegetale oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small celery rib, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped geen bell pepper
1 cup bottled clam juice (8 fl oz)
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/4 lb peeled and deveined large shrimp
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallion greens

Accompaniment: White Rice

Stir together oil and flour in a 10-inch heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) with a metal or wooden spatula, then cook over moderate heat, scraping back and forth constantly, until roux is the color of light milk chocolate, 10 to 12 minutes.

Add onion, celery, and bell pepper and cook, scraping back and forth occasionally, until bell pepper is softened, about 8 minutes.  Stir in clam juice, water, salt, and cayenne and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.  Stir in shrimp and simmer, stirring occasionally, until shrimp is just cooked through, 3 to 4 mintues.  Stir in scallion greens and salt to taste.

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© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.