Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Liza Jernow
These are straight old-school. Canned salmon formed into a patty and fried was dinner and supper and sometimes even breakfast in many a hardworking black household in the middle of the twentieth century. Salmon had the advantage over many other proteins of being relatively nonperishable, inexpensive, and pretty in pink to boot.
Back in the day, salmon croquettes usually meant rich bindings and fillers. Everything from eggs, flour, cracker crumbs, and béchamel sauce has been used to hold them together. And back in the day they were typically fried in an inch of bacon grease. In my house, the binder is egg only, and the patties are pan-seared in a little olive oil. Sometimes I serve them over a salad, sometimes I plate them with vegetables, and sometimes I put them in a bun for a salmon alternative to beef or turkey burgers.
The French name always reminds me of my Louisiana roots. This dish smells so good when it’s cooking that my dog won’t give me a second of peace.
1 ½ cups plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream
¼ cup Dijon mustard
6 sprigs fresh dill, chopped
2 (14.75-ounce) cans salmon packed in water (look for a sustainable brand)
4 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 large white onion, finely chopped
4 large eggs, beaten
½ tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
To make the dill sauce, whisk together the yogurt, mustard, and dill in a small bowl. Set aside.
Drain the salmon, and then remove and discard the bones and skin. Mix the salmon, celery, onion, eggs, salt, and pepper in a good-size bowl. Form the mixture into 8 patties. Slick a medium skillet with the olive oil and heat it over medium-high heat. Cook the patties until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.
Put a dollop of the dill sauce on top of each patty and serve.
If you want a slightly more old-school, firmer croquette, simply add ¾ cup plain dry breadcrumbs to the mix.