These make a little expensive salmon go a long way.
200g (7 oz) hot-smoked salmon
300g (10-11 oz) agria potatoes, scrubbed, steamed or boiled until tender
1 Tbsp each chopped dill and parsley, plus extra for garnishing
1 Tbsp snipped chives
2 slim spring onions (scallions), trimmed, sliced and chopped
Finely grated zest 1 lemon
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt and flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 medium (size 6) free-range egg, lightly beaten with a pinch of salt
Olive oil and butter for frying
Lemon wedges for serving, optional
1 Mop salmon with paper towels, remove skin and flake salmon with a fork. Put in a bowl with cooled potatoes, herbs, spring onions, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper to taste. Mix in enough egg to lightly bind – I used all the egg but it will depend on the dryness of the potatoes and oiliness of the salmon). Don’t mix too much, and don’t mush it, leave it textural.
2 Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium-sized frying pan (skillet) over medium heat. Wait for it to get hot, but before it starts to haze (a heat shimmer rising from the oil), drop in 2 tablespoons of butter. Scoop up a mound of the mixture and gently press it in the palm of your hand, so it just holds together. Quick, into the pan! The trick is to press just enough so it holds together, without squashing and making it smooth (rougher edges mean more crusty bits!).
3 Continue quickly with rest of mixture. Cook, turning carefully with spoons, until cakes are deeply golden and you can’t wait to eat them (always a good sign). Dish onto a plate, sprinkle with flaky salt and chopped herbs and get them served immediately.
Why cook in oil and butter, and why so much? Oil can be heated along with the pan without breaking down so when you start frying you have good cooking momentum (butter turns to foam then burns if heated along with the pan). But butter sizzles beautifully and helps the edges of the hash cakes turn crisp and lacy. The oil stops it from burning. If you don’t have enough hot fat in the pan the cakes will lower the temperature as they go in and frying will miss a beat or two until it comes back to speed, making the cakes soggy. The idea is to keep the cooking momentum going from go to whoa.