National Resource Center for Alaska Native Elders

Salmon Cakes with Tartar Sauce


"I grew up along the Innoko river so I remember my parents, every summer we ate fish every day and they would smoke and dry fish every day. So, salmon was really central to our diet and it pretty much stayed that way. Even today if I went home, somebody would always bring us salmon and my mom would also remember to send my sister and I jarred salmon whenever she went home. Or if we went home to visit, we would always leave with a case of salmon. It’s so central to the way we look at food. It’s really kind of at the core of where we come from." 

- Chef Flora Deacon

 Nutrition Facts

Serves 4 Per serving: Calories 330 | Sodium 370mg | Total fat 15 mg | Saturated fat 2g | Carbs 20g | Protein 29g | Fiber 5g 

Whitefish is a relative of salmon (Salmonidae family). Our native traditional food is sustainable and good for the environment. Low in saturated fat, high in omega-3 fats, good for the heart (cardiovascular system), and protein rich. Salmon is also rich in vitamins 2, 3, 6 and 12. It's an overall healthy food preventing hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, arthritis, lupus, osteoporosis, depression, cognitive decline, brain disorders, asthma, breast, colon, and prostate cancers according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

How to Make Salmon Cakes

Salmon Tales from Flora 



Salmon Cakes

  • 1-pound skinless salmon filet (or 1-14.75 oz. can no-salt added salmon, drained
  • ½ cup fine, diced red onion 
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • Half of 9 oz. pkg frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry (approximately ½ cup)
  • ¼ cup low-fat sour cream 
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 
  • ½ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs or grated zucchini 
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil 
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • ¼ cup of water to cook salmon if uncooked

Tartar Sauce

  • Mayonaise
  • Pickles
  • Lemon Juice

Preparation Instructions

Salmon Cakes

  1. If uncooked, steam salmon with ¼ cup water in covered pot for 10-15 minutes until cooked through.
  2. Cut the salmon into 1-inch pieces.
  3. Blend in a food processor (or with a bowl and fork) until minced.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the onion, lemon juice, spinach, and sour cream, mustard, breadcrumbs, and optional egg.
  5. Add the salmon and mix to combine.
  6. Form into 3-inch cakes that are 1/2 –inch thick.
  7. In a large non-stick pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat.
  8. Fry half the cakes until lightly browned, 1-2 minutes per side.
  9. Heat the remaining 1-tablespoon of oil and fry the remaining cakes. 

Tartar Sauce

  1. Combine in a small bowl and mix