I remember as a kid my dad always mentioning that my auntie made amazing fish cakes but somehow, he never brought me to my aunt’s house or any home to try. It’s a shame because I was always raised that teasing was wrong. I never had any of my aunt’s fish cakes but I did get her to give me the inside scoop on how she makes them.
My aunt told me that her fish of choice was cod. “You want a nice flakey white fish and catfish won’t do.” She would bake her fish, let it cool, then use a fork to flake it. Place some onions and celery in the food processor and boil some potatoes and mash them to bind the cakes. Then she would mix them together, divide them and toss in breadcrumbs to add some color when she pan-fried them in oil.
Did I mention I still have not had her fish cakes?!
I took that advice that she gave me and put my twist on it. I’ve never had success with using potatoes as a binder so I stuck with what I know. Crab cakes!
In this recipe crab can be substituted instead of fish. I used salmon because it was fresh and on sale. It’s all up to what’s fresh and available in your area.
I once spent a week with several Caribbean chefs and asked, “What’s the secret to making jerk?” I was so pleased that all 12 chefs wanted to chip in. I didn’t expect a cultural war to break out between: Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Bahamas. Ultimately, I ended up with a sheet full of ingredients and add on’s that was left to my personal taste.
This jerk is my personal taste. I think it’s the closest to what I had on the side of the road in Jamaica. Several miles from the resort. You do know that they serve a mild washed down version in resorts, right? The spice level is perfect, the color is amazing and it just smells like Jamaica. Yea Mon!
Double the recipe and keep some in a glass jar in your refrigerator for easy access.
There’s one note I must say. You cannot make jerk with any other pepper besides scotch bonnets. They have the perfect blend of sweet and heat. That’s something that habenero, jalapeño, serrano or thai bird chiles do not possess. If you cannot find any scotch bonnets locally. You usually can find some scotch bonnet hot pepper sauce. I recommend starting with 3 tablespoons for every pepper. If you like more heat add more.
The jerk paste should be hot to the tongue if you taste it before you cook it. That means it’s perfect! Once you place it in the fish cakes or marinate it with chicken that heat will tone down.
I chose to serve a side of coconut rice with my fish cakes and it was amazing and the perfect accompaniment.
I hope you make this dish for a group of friends and watch their faces light up once they bite into this Caribbean deliciousness.
Jerk Salmon Cakes with Coconut Rice
- Jerk Paste:
- 3 tablespoons all spice whole
- 2 scotch bonnet
- 8 green onions
- 1 onion chopped
- 8 garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoon lime juice
- Zest of 1 lime
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons ketchup plus ½ cup
- ½ cup chicken stock
- Fish Cakes:
- 1 lb. salmon cooked, flaked (flounder, mahi mahi, cod, crab)
- 1 onion chopped small
- 1/2 bell pepper chopped small
- 1 celery chopped small
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons jerk paste
- 2 cups fine bread crumbs
- 4 to 5 tablespoons oil
- Coconut Rice:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cups jasmine rice
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 2 cups chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup toasted shaved coconut
- Add all jerk ingredients in blender blitz until smooth.
- In a food processor add onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic pulse 5-7 times; in a bowl add fish, vegetable mix, mayonnaise, jerk paste and ½ cup bread crumbs mix together.
- Form into cakes with ½ cup, in a bowl dredge bread crumbs roll cakes on both sides. In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat, add cakes and cook for 1-2 minutes each side.
- In a sauce pot over medium heat add butter once hot sauté onions for 2 minutes add jasmine rice and cook for 1 minute, stir in coconut milk, stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and turn heat to low simmer for 15-20 minutes. Fold in toasted shaved coconuts.
- For sauce: In a food processor add ½ cup ketchup, ½ cup jerk paste and ½ cup chicken stock blitz for 15 seconds and pour in dish.