Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Salmon Fritters

As a kid, salmon cutlets were always my mum's surefire way to get me to eat fish.

Not only were they fried (excuse me, which food ISN'T enhanced by a dip in boiling oil?), but also they weren't particularly fishy. My mum's cutlet mixture used a 60/40 ratio of tinned fish to other ingredients - which I found to be a perfectly acceptable dilution.

However, on a trip to visit the Russian in-laws last summer, I thought I would impress them with a dish which was not a million miles away from traditional Russian fish 'kotleti' - and I set about making my mum's salmon cutlet recipe. I totally messed it up. I used one 400g can of salmon and I ended up making about twenty cutlets. I don't know what went wrong, but the mixture seemed to just keep getting bigger and bigger, as I absent-mindedly added more and more eggs, flour and potato. Whatever I added, the mix was way moister than my mum's recipe. 

In the spirit of 'doing my best' and not wanting to add even more bloody flour to the mix, I heated up a pan of oil and spooned the batter into it to cook. Surprisingly, although the cutlets resembled fritters instead of cutlets, they did not fall apart in the pan. I finished cooking them all and they turned out fantastically. Nothing like a salmon cutlet, but in some ways better - lighter, and more authentic to the thrifty recipe that they were designed to be. The ratio of fish in my fritters was about 30/70 to the other ingredients, but I didn't care. The in-laws loved them, and my reputation as a buffoon remained nicely hidden from them for a bit longer.

Now I don't cook my cutlets fritters any other way. When I have kids (hopefully in the not-too-distant future), they will probably love the 30/70 ratio, but will probably make salmon 'muffins' for THEIR kids, with a 10/90 mixture. No doubt, my grandchildren's salmon fritter recipe will omit the fish entirely.

Thanks to my unintentional thriftiness, this recipe is cheap - £1.50 per generous serving of four fritters.

Serves 2 (Makes 8 Fritters)

1 x 200g tin of salmon
3 small potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 tablespoons of flour
1 egg
Pinches of salt and pepper

Sunflower or vegetable oil for frying

Mix the ingredients together (not the oil, obviously) well, and refrigerate to allow the mixture to firm up. Heat the oil until moderately hot. Using two dessert spoons, form the mixture into fritters and plop them into the hot oil. Fry the fritters in batches until golden and crunchy, and drain onto kitchen paper.

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