Monika’s Molecular Meals: Paleo Salmon Cakes With Lemon & Horseradish “Cream”

By Monika Knapp | 5 February 2020 403 views
paleo salmon cakes

Delicious Paleo Salmon Cakes… With A Tasty Secret Ingredient!

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The first time I tried yuca, I immediately fell in love.

It’s kind of like a potato… but lighter, fluffier, and somehow more aromatic.

AKA cassava, yuca is commonly seen in Latin American cuisine—the restaurant I first discovered them in was Nicaraguan. 

It’s also popping up a lot more frequently in grocery stores! 

Maybe you’ve walked right by it without noticing—after all, it is long, brown, and sort of looks like a skinny tree trunk. It might not exactly look like “normal food” to most people.

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But yuca is a dream to eat, a delight to cook with, and something that can bring a lot of flavor to the table, using not much effort.

And if you’re following a paleo diet, it’s a real lifesaver when you get sick of different kinds of potatoes, and just want something different for a change.

So that’s why these paleo salmon cakes are not just chock-full of salmon—they’re chock-full of freshly shredded yuca too.

It’s true, these paleo salmon cakes are not *exactly* like your typical crab or seafood cake… and in my mind, that’s definitely not a bad thing. 

Here’s how it’s done:

FTH’s Paleo Salmon Cakes With Horseradish “Cream”

Equipment Needed: Food processor or blender; mortar & pestle (optional but preferred)

Recipe Time: 45-60 minutes

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

For the paleo salmon cakes:

  • 1/2 lb. smoked salmon collars, skins removed and meat shredded (can also sub regular smoked salmon, but you will only need about 1/3 lb. of meat)
  • 1 large yuca/cassava root, or 2 medium, rough skins peeled
  • 1 egg
  • 6 whole scallions, sliced on a bias
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed, and finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup corn (frozen & defrosted is fine)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 1/2 bunch dill, finely chopped (optional)
  • More salt to taste

For the horseradish “cream”:

  • 5” fresh horseradish root, peeled and roughly chopped (see Recipe Notes for plan B if you can’t find it)
  • 1.5-2 cups avocado oil or liquid coconut oil (see Recipe Notes)
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp Water
  • Salt to taste
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Directions:

1) Prep the cakes.

In a food processor, add the yuca and pulse until the pieces are about the size of a small piece of gravel. 

Add the yuca to a large bowl, then go ahead and throw in the salmon, chopped scallions, garlic, oregano, corn, salt, smoked paprika, baking powder, and optional dill. Mix with your hands and taste—add more salt if it needs it.

Add the egg and mix with your hands again. You should be able to easily form the mixture easily into balls.

Let this sit while you move on to step two:

2) Make the “cream.”

In a mortar and pestle, add about 1/3 of the chopped horseradish and a large pinch of salt, then pound until a paste is formed.

Slowly drizzle in a little of the oil and 1 tbsp of lemon juice, then pound again. It should start looking a little lighter and fluffier.

Continue adding more oil, lemon juice, and water (depending on how lemony you want it) and pound until you have a light and fluffy mixture.

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As the mixture fluffs up, move it to a separate container so you don’t overcrowd the mortar and pestle.

Alternatively, you can either finish this process in a food processor or do it that way from start to finish.

When it’s done, taste and adjust with salt and lemon juice as needed. It is meant to taste quite strong, so if you like it less strong, it sometimes helps to use more oil.

3) Cook the cakes and serve!

Form the fritter mixture into round patties—you can keep them about the size of golf balls for more of a side dish, or larger if you want to serve them as “burgers.”

Heat the avocado oil in a large saute pan until a thermometer registers between 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Do a test cake so you can nail the exact timing. What worked for me was 2 minutes for the first side, then flipped and fried for another 90 seconds. Depending on the size of your pan, the oil may be shallower or deeper, and this can affect cooking time.

When you’ve nailed the time, continue on with the rest of the cakes. As they finish, move them to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt immediately out of the pan.

Serve the cakes with horseradish “cream,” fresh dill, or cilantro and lemon wedges and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Fresh horseradish can be difficult to find, so if you can’t source it, fresh garlic would also work. (As a matter of fact, the sauce this is based on—Lebanese toum—calls for fresh garlic.) To make it more aromatic, you can add ginger or lemongrass root as well.
  • It’s important to use an oil that’s liquid at room temperature; otherwise, the mixture may not properly emulsify.

Serving These For Brunch? Use Leftover Salmon Cakes To Make The Paleo Eggs Benedict Of Your Dreams…

If you have cakes leftover and are in the mood for a fancy breakfast or brunch, they make a great base for eggs benedict.

The easiest way to do it is to poach two eggs, serve over re-crisped salmon cakes, and top with the horseradish “cream” and some herbs and smoked paprika.

You could also top the cakes with extra smoked salmon for more protein!

However, you could also make a paleo hollandaise sauce using an immersion blender.

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Combine 1 egg yolk, 1 tsp water, 1 tsp fresh lemon juice, and a pinch of salt in a large jar that fits the head of your immersion blender.

Melt 8 Tbsp of coconut oil in a small pan, then transfer to a liquid measuring cup. Submerge the immersion blender into the bottom of the jar, turn it on, and slowly drizzle in the coconut oil while it runs.

It should look thick and creamy. Season to taste with salt and smoked paprika if desired. Yum!

3 Surprising Health Benefits Of Adding More Salmon To Your Diet…

Most people know salmon as one of the “healthier” fish you can eat… though this is especially true if you’re trying to lose a little weight on your paleo journey.

Here’s why:

1) Salmon is more nutrient-dense than white fish like tilapia.

Bite for bite, salmon is pretty much on-par with grass-fed meat for nutritional value.

2) More omega-3s than omega-6s 

A lot of seafood, including salmon, contains more omega-3 fats than omega-6s, which makes it EXTREMELY anti-inflammatory.

Adding more salmon to your diet can also correct for the high levels of omega-6s commonly found in the modern Western diet.

3) High in protein (great if you’re trying to shed a few pounds before the warmer weather hits!)

Now this is the big one… 5 ounces of cooked salmon contains a whopping 36 grams of protein, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.[1]

And considering that same amount of salmon clocks in at just 170 calories… that makes it one of THE best protein-dense, low-calorie meals.

So what?

So, research shows people who add 15-30% extra protein to their diet actually lose weight faster… AND keep it off for longer.

(One study found doing this can help you burn up to 441 extra calories the next day… simply by eating MORE!) 

You do the math: taking in 170 calories… but burning up to 441 extra calories… just by eating salmon…

That’s a huge caloric deficit!

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