Dinner/ Exercise/ Fitness

The Perils of Fish Patties

I should have known this was going to be a disaster when I opened a can of salmon and found basically a whole fish staring back at me. NO ONE EVER TOLD ME THERE WERE BONES IN CANNED SALMON!!! And skin!!!! I was sort of disturbed. Anyways, back to dinner. I found this great little recipe for Salmon Croquettes in the new Cooking Light magazine. I love salmon, I love cooking light….I decided to make the plunge! I bought all the ingredients and was really excited tonight to make it. As I was cooking, I was mixing everything in one bowl. I had the miracle whip, the dill, the lemon and then I just dumped all the salmon right in there. Without knowing it had bones. I spent the next 30 minutes picking out every single little bone, getting my hands all messy with miracle whip and salmon juice. Yuck.

So, I formed the patties, went on a run and came back to eat. I cooked them up on my cast iron skillet and had one with couscous (1/4 cup dry) and honey glazed parsnips and carrots. The couscous and the carrot mixture was fabulous…I cooked the veggies with a tsp of butter and a tsp of honey and they caramelized and turned all sweet and soft. The couscous was great too. But the salmon….not so much. Mind you, it wasn’t horrible. I ate it all down, spitting a couple bones I had missed out on my plate. The flavor was really quite good but there’s something about the texture of cooked, canned fish that doesn’t float my boat. I now know why this is sort of a “retro” recipe and why my mother never ever made this when I was little (she hates canned fish patties, too).

Needless to say, I threw the rest away and that really depresses me. I hate tossing food when I’ve worked hard to pay for it and when there’s people going hungry. And now I’m just craving something more because I wasn’t really satisfied with dinner. Sigh. Perhaps dessert will come sooner tonight.

Here’s the recipe in case any of you really have a hankering for some hot canned fish.


This dinner was about 494 calories (plus 74 more for my 3 ounce glass of red wine)

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  • Sarah
    January 16, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    haha…that actually looks really good to me. I bet it would be great on a roll and topped with the dressing you have on the side, with some lettuce and tomato. I made veggie patties tonight, and they tasted okay, but definately didn’t have the visual appeal that your patties do.

    I might have to give some “hot canned fish” a try sometime…hehe. 🙂

  • jenna
    January 16, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    Haha! Maybe I’m being too hard on them. It might be an acquired texture. They had to be good to get back the Cooking Light test kitchen. Try them and let me know what you think!

  • Steph
    January 17, 2008 at 12:00 am

    Hey Jenna,

    Love your blog! Actually, I have heard that the bones in the canned salmon hold all the great nutrients! My mom used to make salmon patties from canned salmon, and the bones are actually really soft. Took me a few times to get used to them, but they’re actually yummy and really good for you! The fish skin is a different story………

  • Beth
    January 17, 2008 at 12:23 am

    This is so funny because I made a similar, but tastier, recipe last night. You really just have to mush the bones and skin into the mix with your hands – once you do this, they totally dissolve and they are great for adding calcium. Anyway, my recipe was 1 can salmon, 2 egg whites, 3/4 c breadcrumbs, 1 – 2 finely chopped scallions, a handful of chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Form patties and sautee on medium – medium high for 3 – 4 min on each side.

  • jenna
    January 17, 2008 at 12:25 am

    are yall sure??!!! You really eat the bones? They don’t poke your throat going down or anything? I should know this but I really haven’t a clue. That seems to odd to me!

  • Grace
    January 17, 2008 at 12:37 am

    I mush up the bones with everything else in the can, too. I usually just add egg whites, parsley, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. I also add some bread crumbs and usually just eyeball it. I never even notice the bones. I have to admit I didn’t like salmon patties when I was little, but I like them now. The first time I made it, I threw away the fish because it freaked me out. Then my mom told me to close my eyes and mush it all together. Anyway, I’m sure you have a great dessert to make up for the not so good dinner!

  • Melissa
    January 17, 2008 at 12:49 am

    I also have had problems with salmon patties. I bought some frozen, organic salmon patties and I tried to pan grill them, and they were just not good. I am not sure if you have any advice on cooking frozen salmon patties. It is not the same as veggie burgers!

  • jenna
    January 17, 2008 at 12:52 am


    For this I would just follow the directions on the box. I have never cooked frozen salmon patties before but I would think it would be like 5 min per side?

  • Megan
    January 17, 2008 at 2:43 am

    Hi Jenna,

    It’s good to eat the bones from canned salmon, because like Beth says, that’s where the calcium is! I make a recipe that calls for a half onion softened in some butter, then mixed into the salmon (14oz can) along with cracker crumbs, 2 eggs, parsley, and a squirt of brown mustard. This is very good!

    Your blog is great! You show that food can be fun and tasty AND healthy. Food should not be a source of guilt!

  • Beth
    January 17, 2008 at 5:31 am

    Trust me – if you mash the bones really well, you’ll never know they are there.

  • Maggie
    January 17, 2008 at 5:58 am

    That’s so funny – I had basically the exact same experience when I tried another Cooking Light salmon patty recipe a few years ago. I was so horrified when I opened that can and spent forever trying to pick it all out! It does seem like the bones might just mush in, but it seemed so odd. I have seen skinless, boneless canned salmon since then, but it seems to just be a lot more expensive. But, it is out there! I’m glad to hear people just mix it all right in!

  • Elizabeth
    January 17, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Ellie Krieger on Food Network recently made salmon patties, and she removed all the bones from the can before using it. Not sure that you have to, but that is definitely an option.

    Love the blog!