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Already the warm spring weather is getting to me. Peaking outside at the garden from around the corner to see what’s out there, is there anything new to see?

 

I feel pulled by some mysterious force. Not only to get my hands dirty, but also to capture everything that happens. Even before things begin to bloom I like to envision what will this year look like. Flipping through past spring photos is a chance to see how things looked from the previous year and can be of great help in deciding what needs doing.

 

There are a few sparse gaps in the garden beds that need some fresh plants, something to merge the fuller areas into one whole planting. I love a densely planted garden space. Weeds are minimal and the tender crumb of the soil stays hydrated, but mostly everything looks lush, content and full of blooms.

 

Besides looking forward to spring, food is always something I look forward too and being in the kitchen fuels me. Salmon cakes such as these give me a boost when work is full and the “to do” list is long. The early spring chores in the garden are the everyday things that happen, your knees get sore and your back aches, but still my heart is happy knowing that everything will pay off later in the season when the garden can just be enjoyed.

There should be a picnic or two here or a few lazy afternoons there.

 

It is why I plant and care for this little place knowing that all this care is well worth it and sharing this space with friends is even better. Throw in some nourishing food, some laughter and call it dinner with a view.

For these salmon cakes you can replace the gluten free bread crumbs with Panko breadcrumbs if you are not going gluten free.

Delicious!

Gluten-Free Salmon Cakes [makes 9]

1 pound salmon fillet

1 cup grated zucchini, squeezed of moisture

2 Tablespoons chives, thinly sliced

¼ cup corn meal

1 Tablespoon fresh dill, roughly chopped

1 Tablespoon Lemon Dill Aïoli [from the recipe below]

1 large egg, beaten

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon crushed chilies

½ cup gluten-free bread crumbs

1. Roast salmon with a little olive oil in a 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes or salmon is firm and flakes easily.

2. Cool salmon and flake into large pieces and place in a mixing bowl.

3. Fold in remaining ingredients except bread crumbs with salmon.

4. Using a #20 scoop [approximately ¼ cup], scoop salmon mixture and form into cakes.

5. Coat each side with bread crumbs.

6. In a skillet, heat a little olive oil and cook salmon cakes 2-3 minutes per side over medium heat.

Lemon Dill Aïoli [makes ½ cup]

1 large egg yolk, room temperature

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ -½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon lemon zest

1/3 cup olive oil -or- sunflower oil

1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped

1. Whisk together egg yolk, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt and zest in a bowl.

2. Vigorously whisk in oil in a slow steady stream until emulsified and creamy.

3. Stir in fresh dill.

This dish is delicious with any kind of potato and a simple green. I have chosen to serve the salmon with asparagus and parsley potatoes.

Salmon can handle bold flavors but I think lemon is the best flavoring for this fish. Lemon helps brighten up its flavor and what better pairing is it to have capers in the mix. I adore capers for their unique briny flavor. So for this recipe I planned on roasting salmon steaks with a lemon caper butter sauce.

 Salmon Steaks w/ Lemon Butter Caper Sauce

2 salmon steaks

¼ cup shallots minced

2 tablespoons butter, unsalted

1 lemon juiced

1 Tablespoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons capers

2 Tablespoons butter, unsalted

2 Tablespoons parsley, minced

Freshly ground black pepper

 Preheat oven to 400F and place the salmon on parchment paper. Season them with sea salt and place them in the oven. They are going to take about 15 minutes to cook until easily flaked.

 Meanwhile, gently sauté the shallots in butter until translucent over medium-low heat. Add the lemon juice, capers and zest and simmer until reduced by half. Just before serving, turn off the heat and add the remaining butter and parsley. Swirl the pan to incorporate the butter, forming a creamy sauce. Plate the salmon and pour the sauce over.  A delicious and classic dish with lots of butter. My thoughts, butter is magic!

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