Today, while winter makes another pass on its way out, my thoughts drift back to last Sunday when spring was in town for its annual get-aquainted visit. Seventy-eight degrees and sunny...Birds, leaf buds, flowers...Caressing breezes. Ah, the day that was.
All days are precious when you think about it, but those tender early spring ones are especially easy to love. I hauled my beloved rocking chair up from basement storage to the deck on the shady side of the house because it was so warm. I rocked contentedly and read Elizabeth Bard's Lunch in Paris, a delightful escape and inspiration for a Francophilic foodie. It's a story of love and France with recipes. I couldn't ask for much more except pictures, but I'm not greedy like that. Some of the recipes and menus may even appear on the ole blog in the future, they sound so enticing.
Despite my fond memories of a warmer day, I'm not sorry that it's cold again. Spring does this. She dances back and forth for a while. I patiently let the seasons do their thing. Soon enough it will be hot, and no one but this lizard will even want to be out in it. Besides, at our dinner table it was determinedly spring today anyway: salmon cakes with dill sauce, lemon-parsley rice, and buttered asparagus. (Take that Old Man Winter! Time to go bye-bye soon.)
I'm not sure how exciting salmon cakes are to you, but every once in a great while, I just suddenly want them for dinner. I never follow a recipe, and still they end up rich and satisfying with very few ingredients and at a very low cost: I picked up my can of salmon on sale for $1.99 when I felt the urge coming on. All I add is enough mayonnnaise to bind, a few bread crumbs, and a dash of salt. That's it. Talk about economical. And since the asparagus was also (seasonally!) on sale for $1.88 per pound, the whole plate couldn't have rung up at more than $3.00. I'm too lazy to do the detail math, but surely that about covers it. The cost is as big a refresher as that fondly remembered spring day, after weeks of higher than usual grocery store expenditures.
But back to salmon cakes. One could be fancier with them, adding capers, onion, etc, but sometimes it's nice to do the simple, easy thing.
Oh, wait. I usually find that nice, don't I? And don't you, too? I mean, I know you're busy and all. So, the next time you see cans of salmon on sale, grab one or two and throw these together like an old pro. If you need a little fanciness, stir up the quickie sauce and gloat. Add rice dolled up with a little grated lemon rind, chopped parsley, and salt, and blanched asparagus rolled in a dab of butter, and spring's on the plate. Now there's an escape that doesn't require the weather's cooperation at all.
Super Simple Salmon Cakes
1 14.75-ounce can of salmon
Fine dry bread crumbs
Remove any undesirable bones from the salmon and place in a medium bowl. Add a couple of spoonfuls of mayonnaise, a sprinkle of salt, and a palmful of bread crumbs to the salmon. Stir gently together. If it looks dry, add a little more mayonnaise. Form salmon mixture into 4 cakes and roll in additional bread crumbs to coat. Place cakes in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to firm up.
After the cakes have rested, coat a skillet with oil and warm over medium heat. Fry the cakes a few minutes on each side, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
In a small bowl, whisk together a couple of big spoonfuls of mayonnaise with just enough buttermilk to thin it to a thick sauce consistency. Add a pinch of salt, a squeeze of lemon juice, and about a 1/2 teaspoon of the dill. Whisk, taste, and adjust the seasoning to your liking.