My mother had her own way of doing things. On New Year’s Eve, the former Miss Greenwich Village of 1928 (she was disqualified when it was learned that she was only fourteen) would dust golden glitter over her red hair and Vaseline-glossed brows. No Donna Reed at home either, there she potchkehed the mundane into the marvelous. She painstakingly sewed green and bronze sequins all over our Davy Crockett T-shirts; she painted our names in Revlon’s Coral Vanilla nail polish on tin lunch boxes. And when sore throats stole our appetites at breakfast, she served us steaming oatmeal with a scoop of coffee ice cream.
Her salmon croquettes too were special: humble canned salmon fishcakes given luxury treatment with slivers of buttery smoked salmon and lemon zest. I have gently reworked her recipe, replacing the matzoh meal coating with crumbs crushed from egg matzoh, which, made with apple cider, provides a slightly caramelized crunch to the crust. But other matzoh crumbs or matzoh meal will work well, too.
Preheat the oven to 450°F
Make the croquettes: in a large bowl, flake the salmon well. Add the eggs; dill; shallots or onions; lemon zest, if using; smoked salmon or lox; and matzoh meal or flour, and combine thoroughly. Season to taste with salt (none may be needed, especially if the lox is salty) and pepper. Form the mixture into four to six hamburger-shaped patties.
Prepare the coating: in a shallow bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, mustard, and lemon juice together. Put the crumbs or meal on a large sheet of wax paper or a plate. Using your fingers, spread each croquette on all sides with the mayonnaise. Roll each in the crumbs to coat well. To make the coating adhere better, pat it firmly on both sides of the croquettes. Refrigerate the croquettes for 15 to 20 minutes, if you have the time.
With the oil, generously grease a baking sheet large enough to accommodate the croquettes without touching. Heat it in the oven until the oil is sizzling. Gently shake off any excess crumbs or meal from the croquettes, then arrange them on the hot baking sheet at least
© 2008 Jayne Cohen. All rights reserved.