Salmon Cakes with Chile and Fresh Herbs

Valentine’s Day is behind us, but last week also marked the start of Lent and the 364 other days of the year that you also have the opportunity to show someone you care.

If you’re looking for both a fish recipe and a date night dish, Ashley Rodriguez has quite a few suggestions for you. In her new book, “Date Night In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish Your Relationship” (Running Press, $27.50), Rodriguez builds upon a popular series she started on her blog, Not Without Salt (, about weekly dinner dates with her husband, Gabe, that offer a respite from the day-to-day grind of caring and providing for their family of five.

On Thursdays, they take the night to care for each other. That means the kids eat and go to bed a little earlier or go to a friend’s house for dinner, and they either make something special or just have a glass of wine and dessert together.

No phones and no TV, unless they are watching a beloved show or movie to relax after dinner. The point is to set time aside — more than once in a blue moon — to reconnect with the spark that got them here in the first place.

(Did I mention no phones?)

Salmon Cakes with Chile and Fresh Herbs

8 oz. salmon, skin removed

1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more as needed

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup finely diced red onion

1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped capers

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest

1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Crème fraîche or sour cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the salmon on the parchment and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, or until just cooked or even slightly underdone, as it will be seared at the end.

When the salmon has cooled enough to handle, break into small flaky chunks and remove any bones. Let cool to room temperature.

While the salmon roasts, in a medium bowl, combine the red onion, red jalapeño, basil, dill, capers, mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon, coriander, cumin, smoked paprika, panko, salt, and egg. Fold in the cooled, flaked salmon.

Form a salmon cake by taking 1/3 cup of the mixture in your hands and shaping it into a rough 2-inch-round cake. Continue to make the cakes with the remaining salmon mixture. You can store the formed salmon cakes, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Coat the bottom of a medium skillet with the olive oil and place over high heat. Once the oil is hot, sear the cakes in batches until deeply browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Keep warm in the oven until you are ready to serve. Serve with crème fraîche or sour cream, if desired. Makes two salmon cakes.