Salmon Cakes with Crunchy Corn Relish

Sara Foster

Fosters Market North Carolina Adapted from The Fosters Market Cookbook (Random House, 2002)

When Sara Foster sent us her menu for her Beard House brunch, every single item—from beginning (buttermilk biscuits with country ham) to middle (sweet potato hash with slow-roasted pork) to end (caramel apple bread pudding), and a whole bunch of others in between—made us salivate. It was so hard to choose among them, we finally asked Foster which recipe she’d suggest for our readers. She picked these salmon cakes, which she served as an hors d’oeuvre at the House; you can also find the recipe in The Foster’s Market Cookbook.


Crunchy Corn Relish:

  • Kernels from 4 ears fresh corn (2 cups fresh or frozen corn)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon peeled, julienned fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme or 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 7 scallions, trimmed and cut into thinly sliced rounds
  • 6 basil leaves, cut into very thin strips (chiffonade)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Salmon Cakes:

  • 2 pounds cooked salmon (poached or grilled), cooled to room temperature
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 medium red onion, minced
  • 3 scallions, trimmed and minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Texas Pete)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup safflower oil


To prepare the relish, place the corn, onion, wine, vinegar, ginger, thyme, garlic, peppercorns, coriander, sugar, and bay leaves in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir and cook about 10 minutes, until the seasonings meld. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the green bell pepper, red bell pepper, scallions, and basil. Add the corn mixture to the peppers and stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate relish until ready to use. Discard the bay leaves before serving.

For the salmon cakes, preheat the oven to 250ºF. Purée mayonnaise with basil, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, carefully break up the salmon into large chunks. Add 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs, the basil mayonnaise, mustard, eggs, onion, scallions, jalapeño pepper, chopped basil, dill, hot sauce, salt and pepper, and stir until just mixed. Do not overmix; the salmon pieces should be in bite-size chunks, not fine flakes.

Form the mixture into twelve 2 1/2-inch cakes about 1 1/2-inches thick. Lightly coat both sides of the cakes with the remaining bread crumbs, shaking off the excess.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large, non-stick skillet. Place 6 to 8 salmon cakes into skillet and cook, 3 minutes per side, turning only once. Salmon cakes should be golden brown. Place on paper towels to drain. Transfer to a baking dish and place in the oven to keep warm while cooking the remaining cakes. Serve immediately with the relish.


Twelve 2 1/2-inch cakes; serves 6