Archive for July, 2009

Salmon Croquettes

July 27, 2009

Houseboy's Salmon Croquettes

Months ago, I stumbled across a little article on about William Faulkner’s family recipe for salmon croquettes, and I was intrigued for a few reasons. It’s always fun to eat food with a distinguished provenance, but going down the list of ingredients, I was thinking these could actually be tasty. They showed a salmon can with an old-timey label that conjured up a bygone era. I was barely aware that canned salmon even existed, and I decided to investigate.

I found that canned salmon is both made with wild caught Alaskan salmon and that it is dirt cheap. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program, wild caught Alaskan is the best choice for sustainable salmon. The worst is farmed salmon, which is ubiquitous in supermarkets. I have come to avoid salmon altogether, because I never want to pay the exorbitant prices for Alaskan salmon in NYC supermarkets—often double the price of farmed salmon from Canada or Europe. Furthermore, I imagine getting fresh salmon from Alaska to Brooklyn leaves a pretty big carbon footprint. I don’t have data to back me up, but I assume that transporting canned salmon at room temperature in no particular hurry, while not ideal, is much better. It is also a small fraction of the price. Under $3 for a can that feeds 2 generously. For serious.

It’s not glamorous coming out of the can, but once broken apart, picked over, mixed with wonderful seasonings, formed into patties and fried, it’s almost fancy. I made Faulkner’s croquettes a couple times, but last week I made some of my own design, and they were a hit.

Houseboy’s Salmon Croquettes:

Serves 2 as entrée, 4 as appetizer


1 14.75 oz. can pink salmon, drained and picked over, removing skin and bones

2 eggs

1/4 cup minced red onion

1 tablespoon dill pickle relish

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

8 saltine crackers, smashed into crumbs

salt and pepper to taste (about 3/4 tsp each)

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon oil


Combine all ingredients except flour and oil in a medium bowl. Shape into patties, and refrigerate for about an hour, or up to one day. I formed them into four hulking patties, but it might be more elegant to make eight daintier servings. That way, the portions are also more flexible.

When you are ready to cook and serve, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dust the patties with the flour, add the oil to the pan, then fry the croquettes, turning once, until brown on both sides: about 6-8 minutes total. Drain on paper towels and serve.

I served them over greens and red bell pepper dressed with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette, but you could also eat them like burgers or with fries and tartar sauce.

The end product has rich salmon flavor, but is relatively light considering it’s a fried food. I now keep canned salmon around, making this an easy thing to throw together at the last minute, as all the ingredients are usually on hand. And if they’re not, it’s a malleable recipe. So long as you have the salmon, eggs, saltines, flour and oil, you can try any combination of seasonings.

I am so proud of this meal. It’s healthy, attractive, cost-effective, environmentally-sustainable, and most importantly, delicious. Everything the houseboy strives for!