When the fish weren’t biting, my great-grandmother Florine would have canned salmon on hand. She’d mix it with bread crumbs and finely diced onions and peppers to make these little croquettes. My Nana and my mom did likewise. They would serve them with a healthy side of tartar sauce for an inexpensive seafood dinner. Later on, when I made staff meals, I would save the sweet-savory meat from the tail pieces of salmon and make these hearty cakes that were inspired by my family’s recipe, and I’d serve them with chili-powder-infused rice. Full of protein and carbs, they helped us power through the night’s service.
- Heat the oil in a deep cast-iron skillet or pan on high heat until it reaches 375°F.
- If using fresh salmon, grind it and the salt in a food processor until it is a fine, flaky meat.
- In a bowl, combine the salmon, pepper, egg, flour, and scallions. With a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, take 4 ounces of the salmon mixture and shape it into a cake. Repeat until all cakes are made.
- Place the cakes into the oil and cook until golden brown on each side. For canned salmon, approximately 2 minutes per side; for fresh salmon, 4 minutes per side. Drain the cakes on paper towels, then serve on a bed of pepper rice.
- In a medium saucepan with a lid, add the water and salt, then bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the rice and peppers, turn the heat down to a simmer, cover, and cook the rice without stirring. Once the water is fully absorbed and the rice is tender, approximately 18 to 20 minutes, remove from the heat and fluff with a fork.
Excerpted from Bress ‘n’ Nyam: Gullah Geechee Recipes from a Sixth-Generation Farmer. Copyright © 2021 CheFarmer Matthew Raiford and Amy Paige Condon. Photography © 2021 by Siobhán Egan. Reproduced by permission of The Countryman Press, a Division of W.W. Norton & Company. All rights reserved.