Most of the world’s great chefs point to French cooking as the ideal food preparation and fine dining meals from simple to sublime. Some people nearly drool at the thought of fine cheeses and wine, “Boeuf Bourguignon,” or “Pate de Foie Gras.”
I’ve had excellent French cooking, but I prefer Salmon Croquettes as a great meal from time to time . . . with the main ingredient being Alaskan Pink Salmon from a can.
“Croquettes originated in France in about 1898 by the founder of classical French cuisine, Escoffier. They were originally made of beef, probably leftovers that needed to be used up. As Escoffier’s chefs started to travel throughout the world, they took the recipe with them to other cultures where it was transformed based on local cuisines. From the original beef croquette, it branched out into salmon croquettes, fish, chicken, vegetarian, and many other versions.” – lanascooking.com/salmon-croquettes/
“Consider if you will the meager salmon patty. I fell in love with these as a child growing up in the rural South. Like many Southerners, I never stopped to consider the origins of this particular dish or exactly why something like canned salmon, made into a patty and fried, became a staple in households all across the South. In reflection now, none of my friends from the American West or the Northeast ever ate salmon patties.” – Michael Rogers of Alaska Life
Actually, I’m in good company with this simple meal. Salmon Croquettes were a favorite dinner of William Faulkner, Nobel Prize laureate from Oxford, Mississippi. He frequently ate at Café Nicholson, where chef Edna Lewis had a great following for her soul food and her salmon croquettes.
Forget about needing a wonderful filet of salmon. Salmon Croquettes are easy to make and very inexpensive.
Salmon Croquette Recipe and Instructions supplied by Peg Doman.
2 lightly beaten eggs
2 or 3 diced green onions
1 half of a red and orange pepper, diced
Almost a sleeve of crumbled up Saltine crackers or Panko crumbs
2 large cans of Alaskan Pink Salmon – Drain one can and put the other can into the bowl to mix
Salt & Pepper to taste
Smoked Paprika, Herbs de Provence, sprinkle with garlic powder
Sprinkle with rosemary, tarragon, and sage
Add what ever are your favorite herbs and spices
Hand mix everything together and make individual patties about a half inch thick
Use a cast iron skillet with just enough olive oil to start the frying; add a tiny squirt of toasted sesame oil.
Place three or four croquettes in the frying pan and fry until golden brown and then turn over to cook the other side. When done place them on a platter and stick them in the oven (300 degrees). Keep adding more croquettes to the platter until they are all cooked. You know you’ve done a good job of frying when you can pick up a patty with your fingers and it doesn’t fall apart.
Serve with a bottle of ketchup . . . a squeeze of lemon or lime . . . or tarter sauce if your prefer.
Three or four tablespoons of mayonnaise. Half a teaspoon of pickled relish, a few shakes of tarragon and sprinkles of chives, a squeeze of lemon or lime . . . and mix.
Enjoy a wonderful meal . . . and after you’ve stuffed yourself (saving some patties for a late night snack or breakfast), sit in an easy chair and read Faulkner’s 1954 book “A Fable,” which won the Pulitzer Prize and is seen as a precursor to Joseph Heller’s Catch-22.
“man is man, enduring and immortal; enduring not because he is immortal but immortal because he endures”
– William Faulkner, A Fable
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.