Fresh fish is always the best but what do you do when you have a surplus?  Smoking, canning and freezing are all great options but all yield very different end results. 

With those monster catches, the canner always comes out. Canning fish, be it salmon, steelhead, tuna or even trout, cooks the fish to perfection, producing a shelf-stable, ready-to-use protein option that can be added to many dishes. Smoking fish is also a great way to preserve fish under refrigeration for several days and it can also be canned and/or frozen. Freezing raw fish gives more flexibility with cooking methods but fish shouldn’t be frozen longer than 6-8 months.

Keep in mind, fresh fish does cook up differently than its preserved counterpart. The key is finding recipes to use with fish that will enhance flavors and textures.  Fish cakes area great as they can be cooked up as an appetizer or made into a patty and served on a bun. 

This version, made with canned salmon and coated with panko (Japanese bread crumbs) before frying, makes a wonderful appetizer for gatherings. Cooked or canned tuna, steelhead or trout can be substituted for salmon in this recipe. To amp-up the flavor of these cakes, additional seasonings and/or herbs, even crushed potato chips, can be added to the panko coating.

Salmon Cakes
2 cups cooked salmon (or steelhead, trout, tuna)
1/4 cup panko
1/4 cup chives
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup panko for coating
1/4 cup peanut or coconut oil for frying

Remove any bones from fish. In a medium bowl, gently mix all ingredients until combined. Do not over mix. 

If desired, mix additional ingredients into 1 cup panko. Place panko on a plate. Form into cakes; bite-sized (make 10-12), cake-sized (make 6-8), patty-sized (make 4). Press each cake into panko, coating on both sides.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry 2-4 minutes until golden and carefully flip, browning on the other side. Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.

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