Thai-Style Salmon Cakes

4 ounces haricot verts, or young green beans

1 pound skinless salmon fillets, pin bones removed

1 stalk lemongrass, outer layers peeled, and white inner section minced

4 small shallots, peeled and minced

1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced

3 to 4 TBS minced cilantro

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 kaffir lime leaves, central vein removed, thinly sliced

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp fish sauce

pinch of salt

pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Bibb or other lettuce leaves

nuoc cham

finely grated carrot

finely grated daikon

fresh lime slices


Cut the haricot verts into 1/8 inch slices.  Blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds.  Drain and place in an ice bath.  When the beans are cold, drain them and dry on towels.


Cut the salmon into 1/2-inch pieces.  Chill.


Mix the minced lemongrass, shallots, ginger, cilantro, garlic, lime leaves, sugar  and fish sauce in a small bowl.  Chill this mixture for 30 minutes.

I prefer to chop the salmon into fine pieces with two knives; otherwise, pulse briefly in a food processor.  You want to make sure you don't end up with a smooth paste.  Gently mix the salmon with the chilled herb mixture and the blanched haricot vert slices.  Season with salt and pepper. 

Form the salmon mixture into small patties about a half inch thick with a one and a half inch diameter (1,25 cm x 3,75 cm).  

Brush the patties with oil on both sides and grill over  hot coals for a couple of minutes on each side until nicely caramelized.  They can also be pan fried in a nonstick skillet for 3 to 5 minutes each side until golden brown.

Serve with lettuce leaves to wrap.  Top with finely grated carrot, daikon and nuoc cham.  Squeeze fresh lime on top if you wish.