Limes (Recipe: salmon croquettes with sesame-lime sauce)
In the house where I grew up, lemons were for cooking.
Limes were for cocktails.
My parents, like many suburbanites in the 1950s, hosted more after-dinner parties than dinner parties. Out came the card tables, the mixed nuts, and the mixed drinks. The game of choice was bridge, and the bar stood ready to provide any type of liquid refreshment. A bowl of lime wedges sat next to the ever-present ice bucket.
Apart from those occasions, I never saw limes in my mother's kitchen. (Lime Jell-o doesn't count.)
In my own, however, limes play an essential role in the Asian and Mexican cooking I love to do.
What are limes?
Limes are small, round, citrus fruits, with green skins and green flesh. Choose limes that feel heavy for their size, with thin skins; they'll have the most juice.
How/where to store?
On the countertop for one week, or in the refrigerator for two or three weeks (in a plastic bag).
More facts about limes, and ingredient photos, on The Perfect Pantry:
Limes (Recipe: Mexican tortilla and lime soup)
Salmon croquettes with sesame-lime sauce
My maternal grandmother could turn anything into a croquette. I loved her tuna patties and dreaded the ones made from frozen mixed vegetables. Asian flavors weren't part of her repertoire, but you'll love those flavors in these croquettes, adapted from Fresh Flavor Fast by Everyday Food. A squirt of lime on top really gives them zing. Makes 8-10 small croquettes; serves 4-5 as an appetizer.
1 large scallion, trimmed, cut into large pieces
2 shallots, peeled
2 Tbsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1-1/2 lbs skinless salmon fillet, cut into chunks
1 large egg
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 small scallions, trimmed, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp sesame oil
2-3 tsp canola oil
1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add the scallions, shallots, and ginger. Pulse until everything is finely minced. Add the salmon, egg, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and pulse until the fish is finely chopped and everything is well combined.
To test for seasoning, fry a tiny piece of the salmon mixture in a tiny bit of canola oil in a frying pan over medium heat until browned on both sides. Taste, and adjust the mixture in the food processor with salt, pepper, or pepper flakes, to taste. Then, form the salmon mixture into eight or ten patties, place on a plate, and freeze for 20 minutes.
While the croquettes are chilling, make the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, scallions, lime juice and sesame oil. Cover and chill until the croquettes are cooked (you can do this up to 3 hours in advance).
Take the croquettes out of the freezer. Heat the canola oil in a large nonstick frying pan. Fry the croquettes (in two batches, if necessary), over medium heat, until browned on both sides and just opaque throughout, approximately 4 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the second side.
Serve with the sesame-lime sauce and extra lime wedges.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Grilled chile-lime-ponzu chicken
Teeny tiny lime tarts
Tequila-lime flank steak
Salsa and shrimp stuffed avocado
Black bean cakes with guacamole
Other recipes that use limes:
Lime-mango sorbet, from Simply Recipes
Chipotle-lime salmon, from Elana's Pantry
Lime pickle, from Mahanandi
Lime meringue tart, from David Lebovitz
Lime French toast, from Inn Cuisine
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I grew up with lime, not lemon. In the past where the country was still closed up, my father used to ask his friends to bring some lemon back from Russia. Weird, I know but he loves his tea with lemon (lime juice has a bitter note).
This recipe is such a winner, Lydia. Good for packed lunch, too?
This looks so good. I love salmon croquettes but am always afraid to order them in restaurants because I feel like noone probably does and they must be old. I actually tried to once and the waiter suggested I try sommething else. This really looks incredible to me! Wish I had the oomph to try the recipe!
Many things taste better with a squirt of lime. I love these croquettes or as we British would call them "salmon patties".
Lime is yummy in food and cocktails!
You say specifically to store them in plastic bag in fridge - I usually store in fridge- no bag but in the crisper drawer- perhaps they last longer in the bag? do you know a secret?
Looks delicious and I like it that the patties don't have bread crumbs. You really nailed it on the photos, perfect!
I grew up with the little plastic lemon-shaped bottles of lemon juice (never the real thing ... unless we were having fish). These croquettes look divine. Mmm.
Sauce = mayo on down and stir?
My mother would make "coddies" -- canned cod, probably ingredients like your patty ingredients, and deep fry. We loved them in the '50s.
(except Mom wouldn't have used shallots, ginger or chilis -- probably not limes either)
I love all the ingredients of the sauce, I'll definitely do it. The croquettes look delicious!
Another good use for the lime trees I have. I always use them to cook, and to make limenade! lol
That looks delicious - maybe I can actually get my family to eat salmon! I like that you can do it in advance, too - it makes the time right before dinner less crazy. One question: what is your technique for grating ginger? I tried it the other day using a microplane zester, and the result was the texture of the wasabi that comes with sushi. Thanks, Lydia!
Oh, Lydia--how funny! Perfect timing. The next recipe I'm making & shooting for the inn cookbook is one for Salmon Croquettes! Coincidence or synchronicity? Either way, you've given me a great idea for styling--I may just work some fresh spinach into the shot!
I love limes, for cocktails and food!
I am seldom without limes. But you are correct about the 50s party scene for adults - perfect description, Lydia. And the colors in your photo - oh my!
Would this recipe be successful using canned salmon instead of fresh?
Anh, yes, I think these would be delicious cold or at room temperature.
Daryl, croquettes made from canned salmon don't appeal to me, and maybe the waiter was trying to warn you off. These are truly fresh and delicious, and easy to make in the food processor, so I hope you'll try them.
Val, my Canadian husband calls everything a patty, too!
Carol, I never used to store my lemons and limes in plastic bags in the fridge, but I read somewhere that it would prolong their shelf life, and when I tried it, I found it was true.
Kalyn, no breadcrumbs (I like that, too). The croquettes never really firm up in the fridge the way breadcrumbed ones do, but once they get in the pan, they do hang together. And without the breadcrumbs, they are much lighter.
Sarah, oh yes, the scary little lemon bottles. I remember those, too.
Susan, there were lots of things like that when convenience foods first became popular in the 50s, and I used to love them when I was a kid.
Mari, you have lime trees? I am so jealous! I'd love to be able to grow citrus here.
Judy, I use a little ceramic "fish", a ginger grater you can buy at any Asian market. But you can also grate ginger with a spoon, especially if the ginger is relatively young and pliant.
Sandie, I can't wait to see your photos. I'm sure they will be stunning. For mine, spinach was the green I happened to have on hand!
Natashya, I use limes far more than lemons for everyday cooking.
Mimi, were your parents bridge players? That was the game of choice for my parents and their friends. Cocktails, Chex mix, and bridge.
LH, while you can certainly used canned salmon for croquettes, it will never taste the same as fresh. If you can't find fresh salmon, how about frozen?
Funny, I was just thinking about salmon croquettes. We called them patties too, though. This looks like salmon patties grown up. Thanks for this recipe!
A new way to eat limes: dip a wedge of lime in salt, put a worm on top and then dig in! Yes, I really did this in Oaxaca, Mexico last week. The lime was good. The worm had been soaked in mezcal so, once you forgot what you were eating, it was good too.
In Colombia limes are more popular than lemons!!I usually have lime in my fridge. This looks absolutely delicious. Love your blog :)
Oooh, Lydia! These sound amazing. I bet the kids would love these.
Kate, they really aren't that different than the salmon patties my grandmother used to make, except she never would have used these seasonings.
Alanna, worms??? I'm giggling. Or wriggling.
Erica, I think limes are more popular in most of South America. I actually prefer them to lemons for most things.
KVP, I'd love kids who would eat these!
Love the first two lines of this post. They read like the intro to a very fun novel. :)
I love limes and salmon. I recently made salmon "patties", with pretty much the same ingredients except ginger. I poached the salmon quickly in fish stock that I had left over from another meal. I then flaked it and mixed it with the other ingredients and pan fried it on each side quickly. I bet the lime sauce is really tasty. I mixed up sriracha aioli for mine.
Limes are a bright flavor and sweeter than lemons IMO, and I prefer it in my guacamole.
That would make a great lunch for my stitching friends.
Oh, my gosh, I can even think about the worm on a lime...ewwwwwwww!!!