How To Prevent Those Salmon Patties From Falling Apart

Salmon patties with avocado salad
Salmon patties with avocado salad - Alleko/Getty Images

If you're stumped on a weeknight dinner idea that's easy to assemble but still seems a little gourmet, salmon patties are a perfect fit. All you need is a decent can of salmon or some leftover cooked filets, breadcrumbs or crushed-up crackers, an egg or two, and you've got the base recipe ready to go. Since salmon is so adaptable to different flavors, you can choose from all kinds of herbs and spices to make them unique (although lemon and dill are pretty classic). Just be sure to always get the ratio of your main ingredients nailed down first because salmon patties and cakes are notorious for falling apart

The key to making salmon patties with staying power has a lot to do with the ingredients you use to bind the mixture, the moisture balance, and the temperature. Patties without enough sticky stuff to hold them together will be frustrating to work with. Ditto for salmon cakes that are too wet or too dry. It's also helpful to refrigerate both the entire mixture, and then your patties before cooking them.

Read more: 12 Underrated Types Of Fish You Should Try At Least Once

Balance The Binders With The Moisture

Canned salmon in a bowl
Canned salmon in a bowl - A-lesa/Getty Images

Every salmon patty or cake recipe calls for some combination of binding ingredients. These usually include eggs, flour, breadcrumbs, cracker crumbs, ground flaxseed, and so on. Without these binders, the salmon has nothing to stick to, so you can't form patties. However, you can go overboard with the binders. If you add too much egg, for instance, or the canned fish isn't properly drained, the mixture will be too wet and the cakes will fall apart. Too many breadcrumbs, on the other hand, will make your cakes dry and crumbly. Try to always follow your recipe carefully, but if you're going without a recipe the goal is to make a mixture that will stick together when you pinch it between your thumb and index finger.

It's a good idea to make a test patty once you've mixed all the ingredients and let it sit for about 10 minutes so that the dry ingredients can absorb moisture. A test cake will give you an idea of how well your cakes will stay together in the pan before you go to the trouble of forming the whole batch. If they seem too wet or too dry during the test, go back and add an extra egg or some more breadcrumbs to the mix, let it sit for a few more minutes, and repeat the process until the cakes stay together.

Refrigerate The Mix, Use A Sheet Pan

Cooked fish cakes on a plate
Cooked fish cakes on a plate - OnlyZoia/Shutterstock

Once you have the right moisture balance in your salmon patty mix, a helpful step is to refrigerate everything before you form the cakes. This will make the mixture easier to work with. Then you can scoop the cakes and put them on a sheet pan to cool down in the fridge once again. The cooler temperature of the mix will help everything stick together better when the patties are pan-fried, crisping them up nicely.

If you have a lot of salmon patties to make, you can even forgo the pan altogether and bake them on a sheet tray in the oven. This way, even if your patties are a little too wet or dry you can still get a decent shape; less flipping means less chance of the patties falling apart. All you have to do is scoop them (make sure they're the same size), flatten them, then set a timer and turn the cakes over halfway through the bake. Make sure to grease the pan or use a sheet of parchment paper to prevent the patties from sticking, and you'll have perfect-looking salmon patties every time.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.