During the season of Lent, I am always craving things besides my standby seafood options and I love Salmon. Though many people might find put a beautiful salmon steak in the food processor something akin to sacrilege, I strongly believe this dish celebrate the salmon. With the subtle notes of ginger, garlic and scallions, the salmon specific aioli which is more of a dressing than an aioli. and the quick pickles make this an experience of salmon rather than an insult to salmon.
It is sometimes hard to find salmon without the skin and I don’t actually have proper chef’s knives which would make it easier to take the skin off, so I looked for a steak without the skin. I was concerned about making this in my sm space since the aroma of fried fish tends to linger, but I was pleasantly surprised when the aroma didn’t stick around and the actual cakes were light on tasting of the sea, but heavy on the real salmon flavor.
As a child my experience of salmon, growing up in a household where new recipes were rarely tried because well, everybody liked the favorites so much, was solely lox, for better or for worse. I happen to like lox, but I honestly thought all salmon was good for was for serving on a bagel with a shmear. For those people who are not New Yorkers, putting a shmear on a bagel means not just smearing it with cream cheese, it mean SHMEARING it with cream cheese. When I discovered salmon as entree sans bagel, it was actually surprising when I liked it, and I have loved it ever since. Autocorrect, of course, apparently has not ever been to Long Island, so it autocorrected schmear.
* Adjusted from recipe
1½ pounds boneless, skinless center-cut salmon, patted dry
5 scallions, green parts finely chopped, white parts thinly sliced
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1 garlic clove, finely grated
2 tablespoons plus ⅔ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
4 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar, divided
3 medium Persian cucumbers, shaved lengthwise
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup (or more) vegetable oil
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
2 cups tender herbs, such as torn mint and/or cilantro leaves with tender stems