Salmon Cakes with Herbed Yogurt and Watermelon-Tomato Salad

Submitted to MasterChef by dinnerwasdelicious

Mystery Box Ingredients:
2 6oz Salmon Fillets
4 oz Bacon
1 cup Medium-Grain White Rice
16 oz Can Black Beans
1 bunch Basil
1 bunch Mint
6 oz Fage 2% yogurt
4 oz Balsamic Vinegar

The paralysis we felt staring into our first Mystery Box from Plated can only be described as Existential. There were so many choices, so many weird combinations, so many things that we wanted to eat. We were condemned to be delicious and we just didn’t know where to start. We made lists, we googled, and, after what seemed like forever, came to the conclusion:  no matter whatever we made, it was going to be fried. Then Rachel remembered a favorite dish from her childhood: Salmon Cakes

Like a crab cake but better, Salmon Cakes add a layer of crunchy goodness to the sweet, creamy fish. They’re seared on the outside to a deep, golden brown, while the inside stays tender and moist. We kept some lightness on the plate with quite possibly the freshest salad on the planet: watermelon-tomato salad, with fresh cucumbers and lots of basil and mint. The end result was hearty without being heavy and felt like the perfect meal to end a long day of playing in the sun.

Salmon Cakes
12 oz fresh wild Salmon
2 tbsp Olive Oil – plus 4 tbsp more for your frying pan
2 tbsp Greek Yogurt
2 tbsp Mayonnaise
¼ finely diced Red Onion (about 3 tbsp)
1 tbsp finely chopped Mint
1 tbsp finely chopped Basil
¼ cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
½ tsp fresh Black Pepper

Preheat your oven to 375°. Check your salmon for pin-bones, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 15 minutes. You’ll be able to tell that the salmon is cooked when it becomes opaque and it breaks into flakes. Don’t get weirded out by the white stuff on the surface; that’s just albumin, a water-soluble protein that coagulates and squeezes its way out of the fish as it cooks.

In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, mayo, bread crumbs, soy, and black pepper. Mix together thoroughly. Flake the salmon into the mixture, keeping it in bigger, easy to identify chunks. Fold everything together, until the salmon is well coated.

Pour 4 tbsp olive oil into a heavy-bottomed saute pan or cast iron skillet. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil just begins to shimmer. Quickly form the salmon into patties about 1 ½in thick and fry until golden and crispy– about 4 minutes on each side.

Herbed Yogurt
½ cup Greek Yogurt
2 tbsp finely diced Red Onion
2 tbsp finely diced Cucumber
1 tbsp fresh Basil, chopped
1 tbsp fresh Mint, Chopped
2 tbsp Lime Juice
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Patently not rocket surgery, dump it all in a bowl and mix it up. This pseudo-tzatziki tastes better after hanging out in the fridge for at least 20 minutes– so feel free to make it when you pop the salmon in the oven.

Watermelon and Tomato Salad
1 lb Watermelon, cut into cubes
2 cups Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half
1 Cucumber, cut into cubes
¼ Red Onion, very finely sliced
A big handful or two of fresh Basil and Mint
2 tbsp Lime Juice
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste

The easiest salad you’ll ever make.

Prepare the watermelon, tomatoes, and cucumber. Finely slice the onion and give it a rinse in cold water. A quick rinse will take out some of the eye-watering heat from the onion. Add to your serving bowl, along with the Basil and Mint. Drizzle with lime juice, balsamic, and olive oil, and season lightly with salt and pepper.

This dish is best served cold; if your produce isn’t chilly, stick it in the fridge for a few and get ready to eat the most refreshing salad ever.