Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Salmon Meatballs with a Maple Teryaki Sauce

Whenever possible I always try to use as much of a fish or animal that I hunt or catch. Usually that involves using the offal or the bones to make stocks. While watching an episode of The Mind of a Chef, I saw April Bloomfield do something that I thought was pure genius. Using a spoon she scraped the spine section of a salmon and was able to get a good portion of ground salmon off of it. Shortly after seeing this I had gone over to Lake Michigan salmon fishing and was intent on saving all the spine sections to give this a try. The first time I tried it I had made some Salmon burgers that turned out amazing and I have been saving the other spine sections to try a salmon meatball. I finally got around to doing that the other night and the results were as good as I imagined they would be.  

Looking back on that salmon fishing trip I was thinking what a waste it was as I sat at the fishing cleaning station and saw all the spine sections from other peoples fishing being fed into a large grinder to be sold as fertilizer to local farmers. If I ever get another chance to go fishing over there again, I may have to ask all the fisherman if I can have there spine sections. I am guessing that if I were to sit there for a couple of hours I could probably collect 15-20 pounds of minced salmon and who knows what I could do with all that, I am thinking salmon hot dogs.

These meatballs were about as easy as a meal can get. I took the salmon that I scraped of the spine and pulsed it in a food processor a few times just to break up the bigger pieces of meat. After that I mixed in all the other ingredients by hand and formed it into small ping pong ball sized meatballs. When they were done cooking I tossed them with some homemade maple teryaki sauce. Not a bad meal considering all I used was fish that would have normally gotten thrown away.
Salmon Meatballs
1 pound of fresh salmon
1 egg
1/3 cup panko style bread crumbs
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1 tablespoon fresh chives finely diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Sriracha (optional)

Combine all the ingredients and let stand in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. Form your balls and cook on medium high heat for about 1 minutes per side in a little canola oil. Transfer the meatballs to a baking sheet and place in a 300 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. While the meatballs finish in the oven make your teryaki sauce in the same pan you seared the meatballs in.

Maple Teryaki Sauce

3 tablespoons Mirin
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sake
3 tablespoons maple sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tsp of water.

Stir together the Mirin, soy, sake and maple sugar until well combined and pour into the hot pan you seared you meatballs in. Bring to a boil and add the cornstarch and water and stir until thick. Toss you meatball in the sauce and enjoy.


  1. I'm a fishmonger and it's just unreal how much good stuff we throw away. Every salmon rack goes in the trash. Sometimes when it's slow I'll scrape enough for burgers but usually there's not enough time.

    1. Kari, If you happen to work in or around the twin cities let me know maybe we can work something out.

    2. DM me at and I'll give you some info.