Smoked Salmon and Dungeness Crab Cakes are what happens when the dynamic duo of Dungeness crab and smoked salmon join forces with a killer wine pairing. This Salmon Cakes recipe is perfect for when you want to stretch your dollar with traditional crab cakes. The combo is absolutely delicious!
Crab is king here in Oregon, so when crab season comes around it’s time for crab cakes. The only caveat is that crab can be crazy expensive, even in peak season!
In addition, way too many crab recipes out there are so heavy on the mayo. They tend to be too rich, and involve too much mayonnaise used to bind everything together and give it extra richness, which just makes my stomach feel gross. And to be blunt, I hate mayonnaise. Plus if you’re going to spend your hard earned money on good quality Dungeness crab meat, why drown it in mayo?
Enter Oregon’s other royal member, salmon!
I decided there had to be a better way to bind everything together without it being an oily grease bomb. A way to highlight the meat, not the binders. Also, perhaps eve a way to save a few dollars (amiright?).
Smoked Salmon and Dungeness Crab Cakes
After reading an article on Food.com, which showed some smoked salmon sandwiched in the middle of a crab cake, we decided to smoke a small salmon fillet, and use that to mix with the crab meat. This also helped stretch the crabmeat, since Dungeness crab is some expensive stuff! Sheesh!!
Instead of sandwiched salmon, we were going to make Salmon Cakes with some Dungeness Crab mixed in! Win-win!
We flavored the salmon simply, with some Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, and smoked it for about 90 minutes. We then shredded the meat, combined the salmon with the crab and other ingredients, to make the salmon cakes.
How to Bind Salmon & Crab Cakes
Salmon is rich and moist with a natural oily texture. Because of this you don’t need to go overboard with extra binding. We did add just a tiny bit of mayonnaise (just a touch!), and some Dijon (because I friggin’ love Dijon) to assist with the binding. That’s it. Plus no egg needed!
Seasonings for Salmon Cakes
Because we want the flavor of the salmon and crab to shine, we keep the flavors simple with some green onions and red bell pepper for texture and crunch, lemon juice for freshness, and a pinch of smoked paprika for color and flavor. Though I wouldn’t object to you adding some dry red pepper flakes or a few dashes of hot sauce for a little kick.
How to Make Salmon Cakes with Dungeness Crab
- Smoke Salmon as mentioned above. Then shred the salmon meat to the same texture as the Dungeness crab meat.
- Combine the smoked salmon and crab meat together. Add the red bell pepper, green onion, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Taste and adjust any seasonings to your preference. Since there’s no raw egg in the mix you can taste and adjust the flavors until you’re happy with the mix.
- Heat oil: in a large nonstick skillet.
- Form the salmon/crab mixture into cakes and fry: form the mixture into a 2” diameter cake and flatten slightly. In batches of 3-4 patties, sauté on each side for approximately 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and place on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.
The result. Pure awesomeness.
The freshness of the Dungeness crab and the smokiness of the salmon take center stage, and aren’t overshadowed by too many fillers that can come from a mayo overdose. There’s great moisture in the cakes, but it’s all coming naturally from the meat (not mayo). You still can feel the texture of the meat along with the crunchiness of the bell peppers and onions.
The size of the cakes is perfect as an appetizer, or served over some greens for a light dinner.
Smoked Salmon Cakes with Dungeness Crab Recipe
Smoked Salmon and Dungeness Crab Cakes
For the Smoked Salmon:
- 1/3 lb salmon fillet
- ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
For the Crab Cakes:
- 8 oz fresh Dungeness crabmeat, flaked
- 3-4 oz smoked salmon (from above, roughly ¼ lb after cooked, flaked)
- ¼ cup red bell pepper, finely diced
- ¼ cup green onion, the white and some of the green parts, diced
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Fresh ground pepper to taste (about 2-3 twists)
- Pinch of smoked paprika less than ¼ teaspoon
- Canola oil for frying (approx 2-4 inches)
For the Smoked Salmon:
- Preheat smoker to 225 degrees F, using cherry or apple wood.
- Rub salmon with the Dijon mustard then season with the salt and pepper.
- Place on smoker for about 90 minutes or until the interior of the salmon is moist and slightly pink.
- Remove, and once cooled, break up the pieces and discard any bones that might remain.
For the Crab Cakes:
- Combine the crabmeat and salmon together. Add the red bell pepper, green onion, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Taste and adjust any seasonings to your preference.
- Heat about 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a large nonstick skillet (the amount of oil used will be based on how large your pan is. You want to coat the pan with a little excess oil).
- Using an ice cream scooper (or similar size spoon), to scoop out and form the mixture into a 2” diameter cake and flatten slightly. In batches of 3-4 patties, sauté on each side for approximately 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and place on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.
The size of the cakes is perfect as an appetizer, or serves over some greens for a light dinner.
Recipe inspired by Food.com.
2014 Knudsen Vineyards Chardonnay (Dundee Hills, Oregon)
For those who may be unfamiliar with this producer, the name Knudsen has become nearly synonymous with some of the best sparkling wine to come out of Oregon (up until recently all of the fruit from their 130 acre vineyard went exclusively to Argyle Winery for their sparkling wines). Knudsen’s second generation has decided to start their own label — making Pinot Noir and Chardonnay — to honor the pioneering spirit of their late parents, Cal and Julia Lee Knudsen. You can read more about them in this post. They currently produce only two wines, a Pinot Noir and this Chardonnay. This is the second release of their Chardonnay.
This Chardonnay spent 12 months in mostly older French oak barrels (only 20% new oak), and 6 months in bottle prior to release. This gave the wine just enough wood for some structure and some gorgeous savory notes, but left it overall fresh, refreshing, and clean. Only 260 cases produced (which is 160 more than last year… meaning more Chardonnay love for us all!).
The wine tasted fairly light at first, but if you give it some time it opens up amazingly and reveals some gorgeous lemon, lemon peel, apple, and mineral undertones. Like I mentioned above it has some oak, but it’s mild, not in-your-face. The oak is a seasoning, not the main ingredient, offering a touch of vanilla, spice, and even a hint of butterscotch (yum!). The mineral notes and savory feel are quite intriguing, and long lasting. The wine had just enough weight to stand up to the dish, but also had great bright acidity, which was a perfect match for the richer qualities of the crab cakes, cutting through the creaminess of the dish and refreshing the palate. Damn this is a pretty wine!
13.5% abv | $45 (media sample) | find the wine here
This is an awesome wine, and a fantastic pairing! If you love Oregon wines, this is one winery you should be following. But of course if you can’t locate this particular wine, look for your favorite Chardonnay. Sparkling wine also works fantastic with crab cakes too!
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