The food we grew up eating will always be the best food we ever ate. I don’t know if that is a memory thing or because our taste buds get used to those foods and consider them the hallmark.
For me, there are several dishes that come to mind which remind me of childhood and the loved ones who made those dishes. Sadly, these loved ones are all no longer with me.
My dad, who rarely cooked, would make an occasional steak of the grill (so tiny compared to today’s grills). Maybe twice a year he would make oyster stew. He loved it, but I am not sure the rest of the family took to it.
My mom was the dessert maker, so food memories associated with my mom are pecan pies, fudge, Buckeyes, and coconut orange balls.
Aunt E was a good cook. Nothing fancy, but everything she made was good. One of my favorite dishes she made, and one that my nephew loved too, was her salmon patties (later in life she called them salmon croquettes) with homemade red sauce. She usually served the patties with green beans and potatoes as a side dish or maybe some fried potatoes (a bit like french fries, but totally from scratch). In memory of Aunt E, I want to share her salmon patty recipe.
You will need:
1 14.75 oz. can of pink salmon, bones removed (Aunt E used the Honey Boy brand)
10 saltine crackers, crushed
In a bowl, combine the salmon, crackers and egg. Stir to combine, but do not over work. Dust with fresh ground pepper, just a pinch.
Make small hockey puck shaped patties out of the mixture, about 2 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick.
In a 12 inch skillet on medium-high heat, put two tablespoons of olive oil. After it heats, add the patties. Brown on one side for five minutes and then turn over and heat on the other side for about five minutes. Each side will get a deep brown crust, which will be crunchy when you eat these. Yum!
When they come out, place them on a paper towel. Aunt E always put her paper towel in a piece of foil and wrapped them to stay warm.
For the Cocktail Sauce, you will need:
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Horseradish Cream
Put the ketchup in a small bowl. Add one tablespoon of horseradish. Stir to mix. Taste. I like mine a bit spicier. If you add too much horseradish, you can always add more ketchup. My family likes lots of sauce.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. It will feed about 2 to 4 people, depending on how many sides dishes you serve and how much your family eats. You can always double or triple the recipe.
Eating this dish makes me feel like I am in elementary school again and still enjoying spending time with my beloved aunt. After my parents passed away, she and I lived together and were best friends. I will miss Aunt E until the day I die, but taking a page out of her book, I am going to enjoy each and every day that God gives me.
Bonus information: My husband will not eat salmon. He says it has a way too fishy taste. He will actually eat these salmon patties, and he loves them. So, you may not want to tell your picky eaters what they are until after they have consumed them all!