When I was young, my mother used to very occasionally make “salmon croquettes”. They seemed very exotic to us with our usual hearty but plain diet. Perhaps it was the name, so…French. Actually, the name does come from the French croquer to eat hastily. According to Wikepedia, a croquette is a small fried roll containing mashed potatoes, minced meat, shellfish or vegetables, often encased in breadcrumbs. The croquette is usually shaped into a cylinder or disk, and then deep-fried. There are variations of croquettes in almost every culture.
My mother’s salmon croquettes did not contain mashed potatoes. These taste very much like hers did, although I’m quite sure hers were fried in a lot of oil.
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped celery
¾ cup crushed fat-free saltine crackers (about 20 crackers), divided
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 7 ounce cans (or one 14 ounce can) salmon, drained, bones and skin removed, and flaked (see Note)
¼ cup egg substitute
2 teaspoons canola oil
Spray a small frying pan with cooking spray. Sauté the celery and onions over medium heat until soft, adding a small amount of water periodically to “steam fry” or sweat the onions and celery (see HINT). In a medium bowl, combine onion mixture, ½ cup of the crushed crackers, mustard, black pepper, salmon, and egg substitute. Divide salmon mixture into 4 equal portions (if your mixture is too crumbly to shape, add a little more egg substitute.) Shape each portion into a ½ inch thick patty. Put remaining crushed crackers into a flat bowl or plate, and dredge each side of the patties in the crumbs. Place on a plate, cover, and chill for 20 minutes (this helps the patties hold their shape).
Spray a large non-stick frying pan with cooking spray. Add the 2 teaspoons of oil, and heat over medium heat until hot. Add patties. Cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.
NOTE: I used Costco canned salmon, which is skinless and boneless, and has only 7.5 grams of fat in the 7 ounce can, keeping the fat gram count low.
HINT: “sweating”, or steam frying, is a means of cooking vegetables for inclusion in other dishes while eliminating the fat typically used to sauté these vegetables . The vegetables are heated over medium high heat until they begin to brown lightly. Then small amounts of hot water are added and allowed to cook away until the vegetables become soft and golden. This is one of the most effective ways of lowering fat in a dish, particularly if the oil is not essential to the flavor of the finished dish, but just a medium for cooking the vegetables.
Makes 4 patties at about 2 grams of fat per patty
You can serve these with low fat tartar sauce, or make a tangy sauce with reduced fat mayonnaise, capers, and lemon juice.
Variation: These are very plain salmon patties, like my mom used to make, which is the comfort food I was in the mood for. But I can see jazzing them up with chopped capers, or chopped roasted red peppers, or even a spoon full of pickle relish.