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Southern Salmon Croquettes: Tips and Secrets?

The Khantessa will soon be out of town on a business trip, so I thought I'd make a personal childhood favorite that she is more than happy to avoid: southern salmon croquettes.

Now I've never actually made them, and am therefore looking for any helpful pointers and savory secrets you may have.

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    1. My Mom always used a few crushed saltines, egg, and milk with salmon, onions, seasonings, and they were ... Meh. Fine. Sometimes she dusted them in cornmeal before frying to make them crunchier. Then, once, she was out of eggs and milk, so subbed a can of creamed corn, and Something Happened. We loved them! I use salmon, onions, an egg, regular sweet corn, lots of seasoning and spices. Good luck!

      1. Bone and skin the canned salmon. Discard b & s. I know others disagree. Flake salmon, add beaten egg, chopped jalapeño, a bit of mayo and Bay seasoning & dijon to taste. Black pepper and very little salt. Mix with finely crushed Ritz crackers to bond. Form in to patties and fry in 1/2" of corn oil until golden and crispy on both sides.

        Some people use chopped onion but that's up to you. I don't care for it myself.

        3 Replies
        1. re: miss_belle

          I can't imagine why one would want to include bones and skin, but I spose it takes all types.

          1. re: Perilagu Khan

            Some people like the "crunch". Others like the omega fats from the skin and calcium from the bones for nutrition. Never appealed to me though.

            Btw: to me salmon croquettes are shaped in cylinder form but I always form in the shape of patties.

            1. re: miss_belle

              My mom shaped her "croquettes" into patties, too.

        2. I keep them super simple and have not had a single complaint! Green onions are my secret ingredient...I think they make all the difference.


          2 Replies
          1. re: LiveRock

            Yes, I intend to include scallions. Probably some Lawry's Seasoned Salt, too. And I'm intrigued by the notion of using a bit of buttermilk and baking powder, too.

            1. re: LiveRock

              Is that your website? If so, congratulations. You write very well.

            2. May I ask what makes southern salmon croquettes distinctive? I made regular, non-southern salmon croquettes just the other day and they came out pretty well for a first attempt and no recipe.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Aravisea

                I dunno. What makes a regular, non-southern salmon croquette? To my understanding, the salmon croquette is generally considered a southern dish, although obviously it can be made anywhere the requisite ingredients are available.

              2. I make a distinction between croquettes and simpler patties. Both good, but my patties are held together with egg/crumbs, seasoned, *lightly* breaded or floured, and fried to golden.
                Croquettes are made from chopped cooked protein, which is mixed with a *cooked white sauce*. Parsley is usually added. That gets chilled, rolled by hand into cone shapes, then rolled into crumbs. Refrigerate these cones, then dip into an egg wash, recoat with more crumbs, refrigerate again.
                Fry. There is a thick crisp shell around the savory soft insides. To me, that's a croquette. Pretty old fashioned, like creamed tuna or something.

                2 Replies
                1. re: BangorDin

                  That is the distinction I make also. I love both but know them as different meals. But I do cheat and make my croquettes into pattie shape. Its just easier to fry.

                  1. re: BangorDin

                    Thanks for nothing! That, and this...

                    " applehome Oct 6, 2008 10:07 AM
                    words, words, words...

                    If you have a memory of a food in your mind - whether it's a bowl of ramen or a croquette - and you're presented with something that doesn't quite fit your understanding of that word...

                    We're back to this whole thing of authenticity. Not quality, not deliciousness, but vocabularly - whether or not a word describes what you have in front of you. To me... just to me, perhaps... I need a fried, breaded round object to cut open with a fork, so that it is not homogenous - it has a crust, and when you cut through the crust, a thick semi-liquid interior flows out. That is a croquette...."

                    Trying to re-create that tonight.

                  2. use panko bradcrumbs, something my Mom didn't have at her disposal when i was a kid

                    1. I don't know whether it's a southern thing or not.... but, I have a recipe for salmon croquettes that uses mashed potatoes as the binder. Very easy, very tasty!

                      1. As an aside, what condiment, if any, do you serve with salmon croquettes? I liked ketchup as a kiddo, but am now keen to try them with tartar sauce.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                          Put a bit of chipotle powder in the tartar sauce and give it 20 minutes. I do this with crab cakes and it helps. Also, I know your tastes. NO MORE KETCHUP.

                          1. re: Veggo

                            I'll try this. And as "luck" would have it, I just happen to have chipotle powder on hand.

                          2. re: Perilagu Khan

                            As much as I love traditional cocktail sauce with them...this recipe from Eating Well has become my go to sauce for Salmon Patties. I could eat the stuff with a spoon!


                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                              When i was a kid, we had them with white sauce. Knorr white from a packet, to be specific. These days i'd probably make my own bechamel. but i usually use tartar.

                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                I think the classic sauce for this dish is a béchamel sauce with peas in it. Season with some cayenne pepper and Worstershire, salt and pepper.

                              2. I use Ina's recipe, using canned salmon instead of fresh. I get rid of the skin and that grey gunk but I'm one of those people that leave the bones, they are so soft you can crunch them with your fingers. I like to serve with a creamy dill sauce.

                                1. I use very finely grated onion, saltines and a little Tabasco. I'm away from home so I don't have access to my full recipe.

                                  1. This is how I have made salmon patties for many years.

                                    Wtg2Retire’s Salmon Patties

                                    1 can salmon
                                    1 egg or about 1 T mayonnaise
                                    1/4 to 1/2 of grated onion
                                    1/3 cup dry bread crumbs

                                    Mix thoroughly together. Make patties and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cooking. I pan fry. Heat oil for frying in heavy skillet until hot. Fry patties, turning once, 10 minutes or until lightly browned; drain. or bake at 375 til golden and cooked through.

                                    Some additions you might try: Adding 1/3 cup buttermilk or yogurt and 1 t or less Old Bay OR 1 T capers and pinch of cayenne

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Wtg2Retire

                                      I intend to use Lawry's Seasoned Salt instead of Old Bay. Will also adulterate with some cayenne as per Veggo's suggestion. Making these tomorrow night.

                                    2. Here's the recipe I came up with and it worked great. Also made a tartar sauce of mayo, lemon juice, relish and powdered chipotle. I think next time I'll sub diced dill pickles for the relish.

                                      1 large can salmon, skin and bones removed
                                      1/2 cup scallions minced
                                      1/2 cup cornmeal
                                      Vegetable oil
                                      1 egg beaten
                                      4 T. buttermilk
                                      1 1/2 t. baking powder
                                      3 1/2 T. flour
                                      3/4 T. Lawry's Seasoned Salt
                                      1 t. cayenne

                                      1. Mix buttermilk and baking powder.

                                      2. Combine salmon, scallions, egg, flour, Lawry's Seasoned Salt and cayenne.

                                      3. Stir in buttermilk-baking powder mixture.

                                      4. Spread cornmeal on a plate.

                                      5. Heat one quarter inch of vegetable oil to medium-high in a skillet.

                                      6. Form salmon mixture into patties, dredge in cornmeal, and fry until golden brown on both sides.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                        Thanks for sharing the recipe. I have a lot to learn here...my first attempt was essentially tuna salad but with salmon, tossed in breadcrumbs and pan-fried.

                                        1. re: Aravisea

                                          You're most welcome, Aravisea.

                                          There's certainly no reason not to make salmon croquettes that include lots of veggies, a la tuna salad. Indeed, I think there's an Ina Garten recipe that does just that. But I prefer croquettes that are closer to deviled salmon--moist and lovely on the inside, golden and crispy on the outside, spicy all the way through. IMO, my recipe pretty much hits the spot.

                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                            Mine didn't even have many veggies, but there was a lot of mayo. I had forgotten I was out of eggs. Whoops! They were good, but definitely heavy.

                                        2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                          Try chopped capers instead of the dill pickle or relish in the tarter sauce!

                                          1. re: meatn3

                                            Thanks for the tip. Just might try that.

                                        3. I have never made them, but I remember that JFood had a popular recipe a few years back. It has popped up on the Discussions you might also like box on the right.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: EM23

                                            jfood's salmon croquettes are the best!

                                          2. Funny, also one of my childhood favs and also, mi amiga doesn't particularly care for them either. But I recently blogged about them here...
                                            with pictures and recipe!
                                            Brings back some real good memories...

                                            1. Salmon patties were my favorite treat when I was growing up. I make them largely like my mother did, with a little bit of tweaking.

                                              Here's the recipe

                                              1 16-ounce can of wild-caught salmon (or 2 cups cooked fresh salmon -- I prefer the canned for this)
                                              1 shallot, minced
                                              1 large egg
                                              1/2 cup of good bread or cracker crumbs (I use matzo meal) plus another 1/2 cup for coating, if desired
                                              1 teaspoon lemon juice
                                              1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
                                              1/2 teaspoon dried dill or 2 sprigs fresh dill (optional)
                                              1/4 teaspoon paprika
                                              2 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
                                              Canola oil to coat the bottom of the skillet
                                              1 tablespoon butter
                                              Drain the salmon and remove the large bones. (I give some of the juice as a treat to the cat)
                                              Using a fork or your hands, mix the shallot into the salmon. Mix the egg, lemon juice, pepper, dill, paprika, and chopped parsley together and add to salmon; mix well.
                                              Add 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs, being careful not to overdo, or the patties will be too dry.
                                              Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium to medium-high heat while you're forming the patties (about 3 inches in diameter and about 1/2 inch thick). If desired, coat the patties with more crumbs (I prefer the patties without the coating, but personal preference should rule here).
                                              Brown on each side for about 4 minutes a side.
                                              Serve hot or cold with a good tartar sauce and a green salad.