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Jun 10, 2010 04:04 PM

Salmon cakes fall apart - why???

I just made salmon cakes and again they fell apart. The recipe is from my mother and until recently I never had this problem. The recipe uses egg as a binder. For some reason, the minute the salmon cake hits the pan it breaks in half and sometimes in quarters. I made this recipe for years and never had a problem but I must be doing something differently but what?????

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  1. Maybe your pan is not hot enough? Or you're not draining the salmon as well as you used to? Without seeing the recipe you're following, it's hard to say.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ChristinaMason

      Recipe is very simple: 2 cups canned salmon, 2 beaten eggs, 1/4 c. red/yellow bell peppers, some chopped onion and celery which have been cooked in oil till soft but not brown, 1 - 2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning. Form into cakes. Coat with fine panko or bread crumbs. Brown in hot butter [I use a combination of oil and clarified butter] They taste fine. Actually I wondered if maybe the canned salmon has changed????

      1. re: Bethcooks

        Hmm. If you haven't changed anything else, I wouldn't rule out that the salmon has changed. But looking at that recipe -- there's no starch in the actual cake itself? Just egg as a binder? Huh. I always include some kind of starch, usually leftover mashed potatoes or bread crumbs, in addition to egg.

        1. re: LauraGrace

          I second the mashed potato idea - I always do that with my salmon patties. I also always chill them in the fridge before frying.

          1. re: LauraGrace

            my mom always used bread crumbs... so i use almond meal and it works really nicely... just enough so they don't fall apart, and they remain delicate and lovely. the almond meal doesn't have a pronounced flavor but people always ask what's in them... salmon, onions (sauteed), egg, parsley, pepper, almond meal... voila!

      2. Once the patties are formed, refrigerate them for 1/2 hour or so. This will prevent them from falling apart when you cook them.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          Do you put the egg and almond meal on first and then refrigerate,or form the patties
          for a half hour? Can you also use corn meal?

          1. re: caraleitalou

            Mix together all ingredients well, refridgerate bowl of mixture covered at least 1/2hr, up to 8hrs. Use scoop, form patties, coat with breadcrumbs if you want to, sautee over medium heat, only flip once.

        2. If the canned salmon is flaked it needs to be chopped before forming into patties and very well drained.

          1 Reply
          1. re: todao

            Okay, I think this is why I was having trouble deciphering the problem. If Bethcooks is just putting everything into a bowl and giving it a quick stir, I could see why it wouldn't hang together. I always work the bejeezus out of it with a fork until it's a more or less homogeneous mass, by which time it doesn't really need any more binder - the fish fibers and egg have become a single substance, pretty much. I do however add some crumbs in there, but I don't think it's really necessary if the mixture isn't too wet.

          2. Beth, the others are really need to add some bread crumbs to the mixture...coating the cakes in panko is one thing but you DO need to add some crumbs to the mixture itself AND refrigerate as others have also's a REALLY great video that I want to try..."nothing in the house" type of cooking...looks SO delish:

            4 Replies
            1. re: Val

              Fantastic video Val. Thanks for sharing that.

              1. re: todao

                I need to find that tarragon mustard he's talking about...the sauce he makes with it looks incredible.

              2. re: Val

                GREAT video. I wasn't aware of website before seeing that video. Thanks for the tip!

                1. re: Val

                  This is the video that taught me to make salmon cakes several years ago, and although I've customized the recipe, the basic method has stayed the same. To this day, it's the only dish that people ask me to make for them.

                  Wait, actually, this was the one that got me started (same guy):
                  But my current method is closer to your video.

                2. Wrap the cakes in saran and refrigerate before cooking. That way, you wont need to add breadcrumbs to the mix.

                  Also, too large a dice on the vegetables can make the cakes more brittle.