We experimented with cooking salmon in three healthy ways tonight. Poached Salmon with a dill, tarragon and walnut pesto, grilled salmon with a vegetable salsa and smoked salmon croquettes with a tomato coulis. I’ll focus on the croquettes because I loved the way the tomato coulis played off the crispy croquette; the colors were beautiful and I just love to take something simple and underrated and make it fresh and very now.
I didn’t have salmon croquettes very often growning up. I seem to remember neighbors or other parental units making them, but not mine. In fact, other than fish sticks, tuna salad sandwiches and the occasional block of frozen haddock fried up in a pan, we didn’t eat much fish. McDonald’s fish sandwiches – I ate plenty of those. But there are lots of horror stories, as well as fond memories of salmon croquettes. Usually served with either macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes and white gravy with peas.
I began making croquettes with the wonderful smoked salmon at the Seafood Connection about a year ago, mirroring my favorite crab cake recipe. Be sure to use a dry smoked salmon, not the type that is used as lox.
Full of fresh vegetables and herbs, these are a more sophisticated version of an old fashioned favorite. And they are baked, not fried. Do all your chopping first and the recipe will come together quickly.
Smoked Salmon Croquettes with Tomato Coulis
4 medium tomatoes
To make the coulis, heat the oven or a gas grill to 425 or very hot. Make a cradle out of heavy duty aluminum foil, wrapping the tomatoes in the foil, but leaving the top open. Roast the tomatoes until charred and very hot, about 35-45 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool. Core and peel the tomatoes and place them in the work bowl of a food processor. Add 1 oz tequila, salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar and the juice of a lemon or lime. Process until smooth. Set aside.
8 oz dry smoked salmon, flaked
1/2 cup (total) minced red, yellow and orange peppers
3 scallions, sliced thinly and separated by white part and green
2 Tbls olive oil
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 Tbls finely minced herbs – a blend of chives, tarragon and dill
1 Tbls Dijon mustard
2 Tbls mayonnaise
1 tsp tabasco
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
additional bread crumbs for coating
In a saute pan, heat the oil and saute the white part of the onion until just softened. Add the peppers and stir for a minute or two. Turn off the heat and add the herbs. Cool. Add the remaining ingredients and mix together with your finger tips to break up the salmon and evenly distribute the ingredients. Form into 6-8 small discs. Dredge in additional bread crumbs.
Oil a baking sheet with olive oil. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the croquettes on the oiled sheet and when the oven in up to temperature, bake until brown and crispy, about 15 -20 minutes, turning once.
Ladle about 1/3 cup of the coulis into a shallow bowl. Place a croquette in the center of the coulis and garnish with finely sliced chives and a sprig of fresh dill.