My plan to work through a lot of the recipes in Shalane Flanagan’s Run Fast. Eat Slow. during marathon training last fall never happened because I was injured before I even started the plan. Turns out I might never run a marathon again with the arthritis in my knee. It took awhile but I’ve come to grips with that and I’m finding a happy medium with running in my life again.
I also cracked open that cookbook again and was reminded, runner or not, there are some really good and healthy recipes in here. I especially like their view on using fats in cooking. Looking at the big bag of sweet potatoes I needed to use, I tried the wild salmon sweet potato cakes recipe for a weeknight protein topper on a big salad.
Now I like salmon, but the biggest draw for me in this recipe was the use of sweet potato puree as the binder instead of breadcrumbs. That is one sneaky way to get a superfood into your burger.
The biggest downside for me, especially for a weeknight dinner, was prepping the salmon. It would be much easier and convenient to use the food processor, but I’ve tried that in the past for Bittman’s shrimp burgers and ended up with a rubbery burger. So I took the time and cut and diced the salmon up into small chunks. Be careful of the pin bones and make sure your knife is sharp. It will help immensely.
The other un-typical pantry ingredient is almond flour. If you don’t want to grind your own, I don’t blame you. It can take almost 100 almonds to make a cup of flour. I’ve had good success with half a cup of AP flour and half a cup of whole wheat. You’ll sacrifice some nutrition and omega-6, but you’ll save about 10 bucks at the food store.
You could do the same with the sweet potato puree. You can buy it canned if you don’t have the time to roast the potato for an hour or so.
These take a little forethought if you are making the puree or need to get the almond flour, but the effort pays off. The cakes are great on a salad or in a wrap or on a bun. The recipe makes 4-6 good sized patties that hold up well as leftovers for the next few days.
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup sweet potato puree (see note)
- 8-12 ounces wild salmon, skin and pin bones removed, flesh finely chopped
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup almond flour (see note)
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley (see note)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- 2. In a bowl with the sweet potato puree, combine the onion mixture, salmon, eggs, almond flour, parsley, lemon juice, mustard, cumin, pepper, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- 3. Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels.
- 4. Wipe out the pan you cooked the onions in, then add the 1/4 cup oil and warm over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer but is not smoking, scoop 1/4 cup of the salmon batter and gently tap upside down on the side of the pan to slide the batter into the oil. Use a spatula to press down slightly so the cakes are about 1 inch thick. Cook until nicely browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes (if they’re browning too quickly, turn the heat down).
- 5. Flip each cake over and cook until the bottoms are deeply golden and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Resist the urge to overcook!
- 6. Transfer the salmon cakes to the baking sheet. Keep warm in the oven while you fry the remaining cakes. If needed, carefully wipe the skillet clean and add more oil.
- Serve over a salad or on a toasted bun. Garnish with the lemon wedges if you're fancy.
- To make sweet potato puree, stick your potato in the oven at 400 and roast for an hour or until very soft. Let cool. Carfully split in half and scoop out flesh. Mash with a fork.
- If you don't have almond flour, you can try substituting half AP flour and half whole wheat flour.
- The original recipe calls for a half a cup of fresh parsley. That was too much for me. I'd recommend starting at a quarter cup. You could also use a few tablespoons dry if you can't find fresh.