Composed Summer Garden Salad with Salmon Croquettes and Pepper-Parmesan Dressing

| August 7, 2010 | 6 Comments

Raising me in Dallas, Texas didn’t afford my family the ability to serve fresh seafood unless it was freshwater and we caught it ourselves. My mother knew how to stretch a penny, and on many occasions canned salmon came to our family table in the form of salmon patties. That would be “salmon” in our home, with a distinct and noticeable lean on the letter “l”.

This tasted nothing like the salmon I have come to love in the Pacific Northwest. My mother’s salmon patties were tasty enough with some mayonnaise, onions, spices and an egg to hold it all together, but the taste difference between those patties and fresh, line-caught salmon is like looking at photos of Crater Lake versus actually standing there on the rim. WOW!

I’ll never forget the bones in the patties. When you used canned salmon, occasionally some of the fish’s vertebrae made an appearance. The canning process rendered them completely chewable, edible and irresistible to explore with your tongue first, then hold in your fingers and ponder their interesting shape.

Home-cooked food has come a long way since the heydays of Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines and Swanson. Fresh seafood from all over the world is now available in land-locked cities such as Dallas, albeit more expensive than at the source. If you live near good food sources, you can eat around the world right in your own kitchen. Miang kham — coming right up!

From warm memories of my mother’s salmon patties, here are salmon croquettes served as a centerpiece for a composed summer salad of garden vegetables.

Composed Summer Garden Salad with Salmon Croquettes and Pepper-Parmesan Dressing

Composed Summer Garden Salad with Salmon Croquette, boiled potato, giant pickled beans, boiled egg, olives and feta, steamed green beans and corn, sliced fresh tomato, crumbled bacon and pepper-Parmesan dressing.

Salmon Croquettes

For the salmon croquettes:

In this recipe you notice I have added shrimp to be processed to a paste along with some of the salmon. This is the “glue” that holds it all together, in place of using egg.

Yield: 2 large croquettes

  1. 1 pound (455 gr.) fresh salmon filet, skin removed
  2. 3 large (16-20/pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  3. 2 teaspoons (10 ml.) Dijon mustard
  4. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) capers, rinsed and chopped
  5. ½ cup (120 ml.) yellow onion, finely chopped
  6. ½ cup (120 ml.) red bell pepper, finely chopped
  7. 3-4 scallions, finely chopped
  8. Juice of ½ lemon
  9. 1½ tablespoons (22.5 ml.) Old Bay® seasoning (contains salt)
  10. ¾ cup (180 ml.) dry bread crumbs
  11. Panko bread crumbs for frying
  12. Peanut oil for frying
  • Remove about ¼ of the salmon and place in a food processor along with the shrimp.
  • Process until you have a paste of salmon and shrimp.
  • Rough chop the remainder of the salmon until you have small pieces as you would for a chopped steak.
  • Combine all except the panko and peanut oil in a bowl.
  • Using gloved hands, mix all together and form into 6 small ovals or cakes.
  • Roll in the panko bread crumbs until fully coated.
  • Place on a wax paper-lined tray and refrigerate at least 1 and up to 2 hours.
  • Heat ½-1 inch (1.25-2.5 cm.) of oil over medium-high heat in a cast-iron skillet until oil registers 325 °F (163 °C) 0n a deep-fry thermometer.
  • Gently place half of the croquettes in hot oil and fry until golden brown, flipping over once.
  • Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Keep warm.

For the Salad: Think Niçoise or Cobb Salad here. What do you want on top of your lettuce to accompany the salmon? Here’s what I used.

  1. Yukon gold potatoes, boiled, chilled and sliced
  2. Hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  3. Fresh green beans, steamed and chilled
  4. Fresh steamed corn, chilled and kernels removed
  5. Fresh tomato, sliced
  6. Crisp bacon, crumbled
  7. Fresh carrot, sliced, boiled and chilled
  8. Giant pickled beans (from the olive bar at my supermarket)
  9. Assorted olives in oil with feta cheese (from the olive bar at my supermarket)
  10. Leaf or romaine or both as a base

Note: All the ingredients that were boiled or steamed were plunged into an ice-water bath to chill and stop the cooking.


  • Place the lettuce on the plate.
  • Artfully place individual ingredients around the plate, leaving a place for the salmon croquette.
  • Once you have the ingredients and croquette plated, lightly drizzle some of the dressing over all.
  • Serve additional dressing in a small dish on the side of the plate.

Pepper-Parmesan Dressing

  1. 1 cup (240 ml.) mayonnaise
  2. ¼ cup (60 ml.) buttermilk
  3. 2-4 tablespoons (30-60 ml.) grated Parmesan cheese
  4. 1½-2 teaspoons (7.5-10 ml.) cracked pepper or to taste
  5. 1½ teaspoons (7.5 ml.) red wine vinegar
  6. 1½ teaspoon (7.5 ml.) onion juice or ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml.) onion powder (the onion juice is obtained by grating a large white onion on a zester or rasp for zesting citrus or grating hard cheeses; prepare to weep in either case.)
  7. ½ (2.5 ml.) teaspoon garlic powder
  8. Dash bottled Tabasco® or to taste
  9. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) Worcestershire sauce
  10. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) A-1 Steak Sauce®
  11. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) fresh parsley, finely chopped

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients listed above.

Cover and store in refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.

Makes 1½ cups

Bon appétit

– Charles

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Salad

About the Author (Author Profile)

Music, food and photography are at the center of Charles’ life. He performed with the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera and was assistant principal bassoonist with the Fort Worth Symphony for more than 20 years. When Charles and Victor moved to Baltimore, Charles created Lone Star Personal Chef and Catering Service and taught cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma. Now in Salem, Charles is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Mountain West Real Estate, taught cooking classes for children at the A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village, and owns and operates Charles Price Photography. Charles and Vic enjoy entertaining and frequently host dinners as fundraisers for local non-profits and charities

Comments (6)

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  1. One of our favorite restaurents have the most amazing Peppercorn Parmesan dressing…as I analyze your ingredients, I am thinking this looks like the other tastes! (does this make sense?) Thanks!

  2. Charles says:

    Jane - It’s similar to one that I found on the internet some 10 years ago and it was from a Wellington’s Restaurant in MN. I’ve changed it up to suit my taste. I also used homemade Worcestershire sauce (which I didn’t mention as I don’t expect readers to do some of the crazy things I do) I upped the cheese and pepper, changed lemon juice to red wine vinegar and added the A1 steak sauce and use buttermilk instead of whole milk.

  3. If this is the dressing you served us last week, it was delicious! Either way, I’m going to try this entire recipe out. It looks delicious and Salmon Patties remind me of meals I had during Lent growing up. Although yours look much better and I think ours had potato in them also. :)

  4. Charles says:

    Victoria - I made this with the leftover dressing from Tuesday. I made a whole quart on Tuesday, gave a lot away and this was created to finish it off. The salmon was a mix of ideas of my own after looking at others including a salmon burger. The idea of using the salmon and shrimp as glue came from Mark Bittman of the NYTimes. It works very well. I’m going to try it in crab cakes using only the shrimp.

  5. Marlene says:


    This recipe sounds wonderful and I loved the comments about our mother. She did, indeed, know how to pinch a penny, and cook good meals. Keep up the good work. If I ever get to Oregon again, please make this dish for me, or any of the others you feature on Taste of Oregon.

  6. Tina Martin says:

    Your presentation is so beautiful. Looks delicious, too!

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