Barton Seaver is seafood’s best friend. If you don’t believe me, check out his profile on Wikipedia. When I met him at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago this past winter, he rightfully pointed out that “seafood” is the only word in our diet that actually contains the word “food.” We otherwise make this conjunction for pets: dog food, fish food, cat food (though it’s still not one word). But despite it’s name, seafood gets lost in conversations around sustainability, ingredient origins and healthy fare. Barton has gone leagues beyond most chefs to plant seafood firmly on menus and introduce fish, sea vegetables and other underwater ingredients into our diet in a thoughtful and flavorful way. In this recipe, Barton skillfully offers a way to overcome the challenges of cooking in our busy lives with a simple, accessible solution: canned salmon.

Barton tossing a chum carcass on the Stuyahok River. (Photo credit: Mark Rutherford)
Barton tossing a chum carcass on the Stuyahok River. (Photo credit: Mark Rutherford)

For many of us, we pack as much as possible into the day and condense our meals to fit into our crammed schedules. And when it comes to deciding what to eat, we tend to prioritize convenience above health and sustainability. I often hear the excuse, “I’m so busy I can’t bother to eat sustainably.” My response: Yes you can…with the can.  Canned seafood represents one of the best opportunities we have to participate with sustainable fisheries. And I’m not just talking about tuna.

Canned wild salmon is one of my favorite canned seafood options; it’s affordable, versatile, and packed with nutrition.  You can feel especially good about canned sockeye salmon from Bristol Bay, Alaska since it’s from a pristine ecosystem and is managed by some of the best fishery managers in the world.  Unlike fresh seafood that’s highly perishable and costly due to high rates of spoilage and waste, canned sockeye salmon is packed within hours of harvest and lasts on store shelves for months.

Barton Seaver Bristol Bay Salmon Cakes

Another one of my favorite qualities of canned seafood is that it’s available to everyone, everywhere.  Canned seafood is sold at every grocery store, corner bodega and convenience store in America at very reasonable prices. So when you’re planning your next meal or your doctor recommends eating more seafood, remember to think inside the can.

This particular recipe – “Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon Cakes” – demonstrates just how quick and easy eating sustainable seafood can be.



Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon Cakes

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


  • Sockeye salmon – 2 (7-8 ounce) cans
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Mayonnaise – 2 tablespoons
  • Whole-grain mustard – 2 teaspoons
  • Ground mace – 1 pinch
  • Panko – 1/4 cup (substitute with fine dried bread crumbs)
  • Fresh dill – 1 tablespoon, chopped
  • Butter – 2 tablespoons
  • Lemon wedges – for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Drain the salmon. Flake the fish into a bowl, being careful to remove any small bones or skin that may be mixed in. Season with salt and add the mayonnaise, mustard, mace, bread crumbs, and dill. Mix gently with your fingers until it is well combined. Form into four even patties about 1 inch thick and allow to sit for about 5 minutes to allow the bread crumbs to absorb the flavor.
  3. In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, heat the butter until foaming. Add the salmon cakes and cook until they begin to turn golden on the edges, about 5 minutes. Don’t touch them while they’re browning. Once the edges have browned, transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 5 minutes to heat through. Flip the cakes onto plates and serve with lemon wedges.


Allergens: eggs, fish, wheat

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