Oregon Chinook Salmon Cakes — Simple and Spectacular

| May 12, 2011 | 3 Comments

May ushers in the beginning of commercial Chinook salmon fishing season in Oregon and Sockeye salmon season in Alaska, so if you haven’t noticed these wild varieties at your grocery store yet, they’ll soon be arriving.

In my opinion, wild salmon is superior in flavor to commercially farmed salmon. Commercially farmed salmon are raised in floating pens and fed fish food that has to be supplemented with artificial color or they wouldn’t have the characteristic pink flesh that results from a wild salmon’s diet of krill, which naturally contain the pigment. Also, the floating pens restrict the room that farmed salmon have to swim in, which I think results in muscle tone that is not as firm as wild salmon’s.

During my last stop at the grocery store, wild Chinook was $7.99 a pound vs. $4.99 a pound for farmed salmon. But keep your eyes out because during the peak Alaska spring salmon runs, the price of wild Alaska salmon can drop to as low as $4.99 a pound if you purchase the entire fish. Frequently Fred Meyer will have specials on whole Alaska salmon at that price, and they’re happy to fillet the fish for you to take home, but you have to purchase an entire fish. When you get home, just cook what you need and store the rest in vacuum-sealed plastic and freeze it. (If you freeze part of the fish, you’ll want to makes sure that you’re not buying salmon that’s been previously frozen. If you re-freeze fish, it will affect the texture.)

Instead of cooking an entire fillet, you can get the flavor of salmon and reduce the expense by making salmon cakes. Salmon cakes are easy to make, take very little time, can be made in advance and refrigerated, then cooked right when your company arrives.

Here’s a salmon cake recipe that’s tasty and simple to do. If you make the cakes big enough, you can also use them as salmon burgers.

Oregon Chinook Salmon Cakes

Serves 5


  1. 1 pound (454 g.) wild Oregon Chinook Salmon fillet (you can substitute farmed and any other variety of wild salmon you like)
  2. 2 cups (480 ml.) unseasoned plain bread crumbs (if you use seasoned bread crumbs, omit the salt and thyme in this ingredients list)
  3. 2 cups (480 ml.) mayonnaise
  4. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) Dijon mustard
  5. 2 eggs
  6. ¼ cup (60 ml.) chopped shallots
  7. ¼ cup (60 ml.) chopped parsley
  8. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) salt
  9. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) thyme
  10. 1 cup (240 ml.) cooking oil
  11. 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for garnish
  12. Cocktail or tartar sauce, if desired


  • Using a very sharp knife, remove the skin from the salmon fillet, chop salmon into fine pieces and add them to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, eggs, shallots, parsley, salt and thyme, and mix thoroughly.
  • Place wax paper on a cookie pan and begin forming salmon cakes in your hand, packing the cakes tightly into a ball before flattening them. Place cakes on wax paper.
  • Cover the salmon cakes and cookie pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. This will give time for the breadcrumbs in the cakes to absorb the liquid and flavors, and for your cakes to hold their shape when you fry them.
  • When ready to cook, remove cakes from refrigerator. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat and cook the cakes, turning them over occasionally until golden brown on each side.
  • Serve with lemon wedges as garnish and with cocktail or tartar sauce, if desired.


— Vic

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Category: Seafood

About the Author (Author Profile)

Victor Panichkul is a journalist and writer by training; a cook, wine lover and photographer by passion; and a lover of the outdoors since moving to Oregon more than 10 years ago. He is a native of Bangkok, Thailand.

Comments (3)

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  1. Marlene says:

    Salmon cakes sound soooo good.

  2. Barbara Grove says:

    Looks absolutely delicious AND easy! If this serves five, probably 2 cakes each? Yield from the recipe should be 10 cakes? Can’t wait to put them together!

    Many thanks and hugs all around!

  3. Victor says:

    Barbara, I made five burger sized patties from this recipe but you could make 10 smaller patties and serve two to each person.

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