Monday, February 7, 2011

Salmon Meatballs and Two Golden Breads

A meatball is simply a diminutive unflattened burger, or a burger is simply a large flattened meatball. Either way, these salmon meatballs are made with the same recipe I use to make salmon burgers. It seems I've always known how to make these. I've spent my life, one way or the other, living closely with the farmers, loggers and fishermen of the Pacific Northwest, and am luck to often have salmon on hand, but canned salmon (or tuna) is reasonably priced and readily available in most stores, for those lacking close family ties with salmon fishermen. My mom spends half her time in Mexico. She cans the salmon they catch here, and the tuna they catch there, generously sharing both with us, and tuna is equally scrumptious in this recipe. Salmon (or tuna) meatballs make a delightful little slider when tucked into a homemade bun -or serve them with hush puppies as I did last night. Usually I get cranky if I have to deep-fry for more than a couple people -making french fries and battered fish fry for five or more seems to take forever, but these meatballs cooked very, very quickly. The key here is to make the salmon meatballs (or burger patties) early in the day and allow them to thoroughly chill -or freeze them. Without adequate chilling, they have a tendency to fall apart while cooking, which is very frustrating and disappointing.

Salmon Meatballs (or Burgers)

Chop small:
1/2 small onion
1/4 green or red bell pepper
1/4 c. celery
2 T. Italian parsley, optional
Saute in 2-3 T. butter until limp.

1 pint canned, or leftover cooked salmon (or steelhead, tuna, catfish, shad, or carp would also work), flaked into a large bowl (Instead of the canned salmon I usually use, I had some raw salmon tail trim which I simply minced finely and added to the vegetables as they cooked, along with a good sprinkling of Old Bay Seasoning). Add vegetables to the flaked fish when they've cooled a bit, and mix.

1 beaten egg
several glugs (1/2 - 1 t.) Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 c. Italian seasoned bread crumbs, or plain bread crumbs with salt and pepper
Form meatballs (or patties), place on waxed paper covered baking sheets, and refrigerate. To freeze meatballs, place directly on a large plastic lid or pie carrier, transferring to plastic bags once they've frozen. I often form these patties, and stack them in yogurt containers with waxed paper separating the burgers. They are great to have on hand for quick 'I need to eat right now' meals.

Chill meatballs and patties for at least an hour to overnight (or freeze them). To cook, broil in the oven, or fry meatballs or patties in a bit of butter or oil in a caste iron skillet, or on a lightly oiled 300 degree griddle -or deep fry meatballs until golden. Serves 4-5. I deep fried the salmon meatballs, then these hush puppies, and was done in just a few minutes without getting the least bit cranky.

Hush Puppies
1/2 c. cornmeal
1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt

1/2 c. buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 onion, minced
Combine two mixes and drop tablespoonfuls into hot oil. Fry and turn until golden brown. Don't make the hush puppies too large -about the size of a walnut is good. Serves 4

The same day I made these meatballs, I was making an inspired bread recipe -I threw in the flax seeds at the last minute, and then hoped it had been a good idea (it was). I made the bread dough and left it to rise, formed the meatballs and put them in the fridge and freezer, and then went about my day. When I formed the bread loaf, I also made a small pan of rolls for dinner, and it was only much later that I realized the 'tuck-the-meatball-in-the-roll-and-eat-on-the-run' slider potential -and the monochromatic golden tone of it all!

Golden Squash and Flax Seed Bread
Combine in Pyrex glass measure and microwave to warm:
1 c. cooked Hubbard squash (frozen and defrosted)
1 c. milk
1/4 c. molasses
2 T. vegetable oil
1 1/2 t. salt

Put in mixer bowl with:
1 1/2 T. yeast
Allow to sit 5 minutes. Add 3 c. flour and beat well. Change to dough hook and add 2 to 2 1/2 c. more flour (half whole wheat, if you like) and knead well. Add 1/3 c. flax seeds and knead in. Cover with cling wrap and allow to double in size. Deflate and allow to double in size again. Grease a loaf pan and an 8 inch square Pyrex dish. Form 9 rolls and a loaf and place in pans, greasing tops. Allow to rise. Bake 325 degrees, 25 minutes for the rolls, 40 minutes or until done, for the loaf.


  1. Is it sad that I LOVE your pink/red hearts tablecloth??!! Hehe, but really the salmon sliders are GENIUS!!! And who doesn't like a hushpuppy?? YUM!

  2. These look delicious I will try this very soon.