Since salmon is a carb-free food, it should be easy to create a low-carb salmon patty, right? Just leave out other ingredients that would add carbohydrates.
That’s how I figured it in 2011 when I wrote one of the most popular posts on this blog: “No-filler salmon patties.” The recipe presented in that post is about as simple as they get. It calls for a can of salmon, an egg, and two tablespoons of olive oil. Maybe some garlic powder.
My new version is just as easy. I’m changing the cooking oil, adding more of it, and another egg. I’ll explain the reasons for the changes in a moment, but first, here’s the recipe.
- 1 can (14.75 oz.) of salmon (wild caught, any brand)
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons of coconut oil (or olive oil)
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder (optional — the source of most of the carbs)
- Open and mostly drain the salmon. (With two eggs, you won’t need much other liquid.)
- Put salmon in a bowl, and mash with a fork, working in the skin and fine little bones.
- Add eggs and garlic powder to the salmon, and mix in.
- Start coconut oil heating in a fry pan.
- Form five or six salmon patties of roughly equal size.
- Pan fry patties about three minutes per side over medium heat.
Here’s the thing: salmon isn’t all that fatty. A typical 14.75 ounce can will have about 630 calories worth of fish, but only half of the calories come from fat. There’s no carbs, but lots of protein with the fat. For the entire can, the breakdown is about 35 grams of fat vs. 84 grams of protein. A gram of fat has over twice as many calories as a gram of protein, which is how the calories from fat gets to 50%. That’s a lot better (fattier) than, say, canned tuna, but if you’re trying to eat a high-fat, low-carb diet with 70% of calories from fat, canned salmon needs some help.
That’s why I’m adding a second egg and a third tablespoon of oil. Eggs have about 63% of their calories from fat. Oil (whether coconut or olive) has 100% of calories from fat. (I like the taste a little better using coconut oil.)
With the added calories from the additional egg and oil, we can create more than the four patties specified in the original recipe, and still have a good amount of energy per patty. And the smaller patties are easier to turn without breakage.
I made five patties, each with
- 236 calories
- 17.4g fat
- 1g carbohydrate
- 19.2g protein
The percent of calories from fat is about 65%. That’s still short of my fat target, so I typically melt a pat of butter over the top of a patty before eating it . For adding fat and flavor, it’s hard to beat real butter. I suppose I could put butter in the recipe’s ingredient list, but I’ll just call it a “serving suggestion.”