Potato Chive Salmon Cakes

By Ann Fulton

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Salmon has has long been a favorite of mine. In recent years, however, I have been trying to buy more wild-caught salmon as opposed to farmed. The downside: limited availability and (where we live) high cost. When I noticed a year or two ago how inexpensive canned wild salmon is, I decided to start using it in some recipes.

Typically, I make a simple salmon cake, varying the recipe each time. When my sister-in-law popped by for a visit the other evening as I was scooping the insides out of baked potatoes for Baked Eggs in a Potato–which are heavenly, by the way! (see note)– she mentioned that she likes to use leftover mashed potatoes in her salmon cakes. So, I figured, why not try?!

She often uses leftover salmon, not the canned variety. You can do the same. She also mentioned that she doesn’t measure the potatoes; it all depends on how much she has leftover. For the sake of a recipe, I measured out what I used, but you may use it as a framework, adding more or less potatoes, using parsley instead of chives, or adding a teaspoon or two of Dijon mustard and about a quarter cup of Parmesan cheese (which I thought about AFTER I had them all made into patties, and I think would be yummy!).


Potato Chive Salmon Cakes
  • 1 14.75-ounce can wild salmon, drained (bones are fine as they will crumble, be unnoticeable, and provide a great source of calcium. I pick skin out but you don’t have to.)
  • 1 heaping cup leftover mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 1-2 celery stalks, diced small
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth or wine (optional to deglaze the pan)
  • 1/4 cup chives, minced
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • panko bread crumbs (optional–omit for gluten-free version)
  1. Saute the onion and celery (in a tablespoon or so of olive oil) in a large skillet or cast-iron pan over medium heat until tender and a little browned. If you have some leftover chicken stock or wine, using it at this point to deglaze the pan will help you scrape up all those little crusty, flavorful pieces that otherwise stay in the pan. Let cool a bit and transfer to mixing bowl. Wipe out your skillet and add another tablespoon or two of olive oil for sauteing later.
  2. To the onions and celery, add the salmon, potatoes, chives, and salt and pepper, to taste. (Add a touch of Dijon and a heaping spoonful of grated Parmesan, too, if that sounds good to you.) Mix well, then form into patties about the size of a quarter-pound hamburger. If desired, dredge them in the panko. I have prepared both ways and they are equally delicious. The panko, however, will add a little extra crustiness to the outside.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to cook or for 20-30 minutes to allow patties to firm up a bit. This will help them hold together when cooking, too. You could certainly prepare these in the morning, cover, and store in the refrigerator until dinnertime.
  4. When ready to eat, saute in the olive oil over medium-high heat until golden on both sides and heated through. Reduce heat to low if the salmon cakes are sufficiently browned but not quite heated through. The main ingredients are already cooked, so you just want them to be hot on the inside and a little crusty on the outside.
  5. Serve with cocktail or tartar sauce, if desired. My family also enjoys these with my homemade ranch dressing. My younger son likes them with salsa for nice flavor kick.
  6. Leftovers, if you have any, make a fabulous lunch the next day. Making smaller patties for salmon sliders would be a fun twist.

If using leftover mashed potatoes that are stiff, you may need to loosen them with a touch more milk or broth. An egg would also provide additional moisture and binding power if your mixture seems dry.

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  1. LAURA

    I have fresh chives growing in my garden and thought this recipe would be a nice way to incorporate them in my cooking!
    Someone commented they used shredded potatoes instead of the mashed potatoes. I hardly ever make mashed potatoes so this alternative appeals to me. I’m assuming the 1cup amount will stay the same, and in order for the potatoes to get cooked, I’m thinking to sauté them with the onion and celery. There was also a mention of adding an egg. Your comment mentioned that you liked the idea of the shredded potato substitution, and that you might try it out. Did you? I’m going to try out all of the above, and I’ll let you know how my salmon cakes turn out!

    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Laura, Fresh chives are so nice to have on hand! I have not tried the shredded potato option, as I seem to think of the salmon cakes on the occasion I have leftover mashed potatoes. I’m also thinking that baked (or microwaved) potatoes might be an even better alternative than shredded, and you wouldn’t have to worry about how lingering moisture might affect the final outcome. That said, mashing the insides of a baked potato will yield a drier outcome that mashed potatoes, so while potatoes themselves are an inherently good binder, an egg and/or a glug of milk will likely be helpful to create the right amount of moisture. As long as you can gently mash the ingredients into a patty that holds together fairly well, you should be okay when cooking. And as mentioned, refrigerating prior to cooking is helpful in that regard too. I hope this helps. Please report back if you try!

      P.S. For those who may be looking for a shortcut, packaged potatoes from the refrigerator section of the grocery store could even be used.

      1. LAURA

        Thanks for the suggestions. I often bake potatoes, so using a leftover one may be the easiest route to take along with keeping in mind the addition of some milk or egg to get the best consistency for forming patties. I often make salmon cakes using an old recipe off the back of a salmon can and this recipe will give me another variation!

  2. Marcia D.

    Ann, these were a big hit with my husband and me. I am wondering if adding an egg to the recipe would hold the patties together when frying. Mine fell apart a bit.

    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Marcia, I’m delighted you and your husband enjoyed the salmon cakes and appreciate your feedback. To answer your question, you could absolutely add an egg. Depending on the recipe, leftover mashed potatoes can become somewhat dry and stiff. So in this case, an egg would supply additional moisture and binding power–and if the mixture isn’t too loose to begin with, it absolutely wouldn’t hurt.

  3. Cindy

    I used shredded potatoes because that’s what I had around. They browned up nicely and were nice with a fresh broccoli slaw on the side.
    Thanks for the post

    1. Ann Post author

      Cindy, I loved that you used shredded potatoes. It’s a brilliant shortcut for all the times leftover mashed potatoes aren’t on hand, and I never thought of it with this recipe. Thanks so much for mentioning. I, for one, am going to try your suggestion!

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