Before I left home for the first time, I sat down with my mother’s recipe box and wrote down my favorite dishes. I just posted a salmon cake recipe that put me in mind of one of my mother’s recipes: Baked Salmon. Claudia’s recipe cards were remarkable in their brevity and assumed knowledge. I will present the card as written and then give more detailed instructions for making this dish.
Note: Jan has suggested a reason for the different versions of this recipe. The first was done for family recipes where appearances was not a concern. The second recipe was after she had become a minister’s wife and needed a quick casserole for church potlucks.
Claudia’s Baked Salmon I
1 can Red salmon (discard juice and pick out bones)
1 beaten egg
4 large soda crackers, rolled into fine crumbs
½ tsp. salt
Mix together and pour into a buttered baking dish.
Cover and bake for 1 hr. at 375º.
This is the recipe I copied when I first left home. A model of conciseness. One of my sisters had a different later version with different details.
Claudia’s Baked Salmon II
1 can salmon (pour off juice)
1 egg (mix with salmon)
½ cup (4 large) crackers crumbs rolled – very fine
Butter baking dish, put in layer of salmon and layer of cracker crumbs, dot with butter, repeat until used up.
Add as much milk as the salmon and crumbs will absorb (about ¾ cup).
Cover and bake 1 hour
Uncover to brown 375 degrees
Finally to give this recipe the Karl’s step by step treatment with few assumptions.
Note: The incredible shrinking product! Back in my mother’s day a can of salmon was one pound—not 14.75 oz. I believe even the saltines were bigger then—adjust as needed.
Claudia’s Baked Salmon III
1 can red salmon (14.75 oz.)
½ tsp. salt
½ cup cracker crumbs (4 large crackers)
¾± cup milk
1+ Tbs. butter
1. Open the can of salmon and pour off the liquid.
Tip: We have a cat who thinks this is the best treat in the world, so fish liquids never get wasted in our house.
Note: Canned salmon frequently have pin and vertebrae bones in them. Poke through the meat and pick out any bones.
2. Lightly beat the egg with the salt and fold it into the salmon.
Tip: Try not to mash the salmon too much.
3. Put the crackers in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into crumbs.
Tip: You want about a quarter cup of crumbs.
4. Butter a pan. (See note)
Note: What comes next depends on the recipe and the type of pan you plan to use. When I was young, mother would make this dish in a bread loaf pan, so that it came put as a block to be sliced up. You folded the crumbs and milk into the salmon mix to act as a binder. In the later recipe, she layered the salmon and crumbs with added butter and baked it in a shallow covered casserole dish to be scooped out at the table.
5. Put the salmon, crumbs and milk in to the pan—as appropriate.
6. Bake the salmon at 375º F. for 50 minutes.
Tip: If you are using a loaf pan, use a sheet of aluminum foil to cover the pan.
7. Remove the cover and bake for 10 more minutes to brown the top of the salmon.
8. Serve warm.