A good salmon cake delivers rich flavor, tender texture


America's Test Kitchen



A good salmon cake delivers rich flavor and tender texture; the best veers away from flavor-muting binders at all costs. 


We used a food processor to chop salmon into a mix of both fine and larger pieces for a varied and not overly dense texture. A single slice of bread provided just enough binding, and a combination of shallot, parsley, mustard, and capers complemented the salmon; a bit of mayonnaise ensured our patties would stay moist. 


Broiling the patties made them easy to flip and kept them from overcooking. We arranged them on one end of a baking sheet, leaving plenty of room for a broiler-friendly vegetable-asparagus to cook simultaneously. A quick lemon and parsley sauce added a touch of class. 


Be sure to use raw salmon here; do not substitute cooked or canned salmon. Don't overprocess the salmon, or the cakes will have a pasty texture. Lay the salmon cakes close together on the baking sheet so that the asparagus has a little extra space for browning 






Servings: 4 


Start to finish: 45 minutes 




Lemon-herb sauce: 


1/4 cup mayonnaise 


1 tablespoon lemon juice 


1 scallion, minced 


2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley 


Salt and pepper 




Salmon cakes and asparagus: 


1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces 


1 pound skinless salmon, cut into 1-inch pieces 


1 shallot, minced 


2 tablespoons mayonnaise 


2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley 


1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 


2 teaspoons capers, rinsed and minced 


Salt and pepper 


1 pound asparagus, trimmed 


1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil 




  • For the lemon-herb sauce: Combine all ingredients in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until serving. 


  • For the salmon cakes and asparagus: Adjust oven rack 3 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Pulse bread in food processor to coarse crumbs, about 4 pulses, then transfer to large bowl; you should have about 3/4 cup crumbs. Working in 2 batches, pulse salmon in food processor until coarsely ground, about 4 pulses; transfer to bowl with bread crumbs and toss to combine. 


  • Whisk shallot, mayonnaise, parsley, mustard, capers, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper together in small bowl, then gently fold into salmon mixture until well combined. Divide salmon mixture into 4 equal portions and gently pack into 1-inch-thick patties. 


  • Place salmon cakes on 1 side of rimmed baking sheet. Toss asparagus with oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and spread in single layer on empty side of sheet. Broil until cakes are lightly browned on both sides, barely translucent at center, and register 120 F to 125 F (for medium-rare), and asparagus is lightly browned and tender, 8 to 12 minutes, flipping cakes and turning asparagus halfway through broiling. 


  • Remove sheet from oven, transfer salmon and asparagus to platter, and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with lemon-herb sauce. 


    Nutrition information per serving of salmon cake: 374 calories; 208 calories from fat; 23 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 71 mg cholesterol; 634 mg sodium; 15 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 27 g protein.



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