Mom picked up on the first ring. She'd been thinking of me. She had just finished dinner and was thinking about sitting in my chair.
"My chair?" I asked.
"Your chair," she said. "The one you sit in after dinner. When you're not doing the dishes."
News to me.
I've made many a meal at mom's. And, I suppose, I've sat in that chair — the comfy leather one with the footstool — afterward. I suppose there have been times I've sat in the comfy chair after cooking and before cleaning up. Or after cooking and instead of cleaning up.
But I didn't realize I had a designated not-doing-the-dishes chair. Worse, a designated not-doing-the-dishes-chair so designated by mom. Who knew she was taking notes?
I couldn't remember why I'd called. I hung up and patted together some salmon cakes, which always make me think of mom. Their core component — cooked salmon — appeals to her enduring campaign to repurpose leftovers. Their supplemental components — lemon, dill and red onion — appeal to my enduring campaign for spring.
After the cakes were chilling in their crumb jackets I washed the dishes. Then I sprawled on the couch, wishing mom was on hand to take note.
Prep: 15 minutes, plus time to chill
Cook: 5 minutes
Makes: 8 cakes
1/4 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup finely chopped
¼ cup finely chopped
Finely grated zest
of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly
ground black pepper
1 3/4 pounds cooked salmon,
skin, bones and gray strip of flesh discarded
1 1/4 cups fresh bread crumbs
Mild oil, such as canola,
1. Mix: In a large bowl mix mayo, dill, onion, zest, salt and pepper. Add salmon. Mix gently with a soft spatula.
2. Shape: Pat into 8 cakes, each about 3 inches across and 1 inch thick. Roll cakes in breadcrumbs. Set cakes on a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Chilling is optional, but makes the cakes easier to handle.
3. Crisp: Heat a thin film of oil in a heavy cast iron pan set over medium heat. Cook salmon cakes in batches until crisp outside and hot inside, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Leah Eskin is a Tribune Newspapers special contributor. Email her at email@example.com.