Mini Salmon Biscuits

These tasty treats are like a cross between a biscuit and a muffin–light and tender with an airy crumb. When you first bite into them, they taste like a simple biscuit, but afterward the flavor of sauteed leeks and a hint of rich salmon lingers on your tongue. I came up with them as a way to introduce a savory flavor to my son, who would rather eat baked goods than whole foods, but they’re perfect for the whole family.


THE RECIPE


Mini Salmon Biscuits

(makes about 28 mini muffins)

Don’t forget to check out my Tips, Tricks, and Substitutions at the bottom of the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 125 grams chopped, cooked salmon (leftovers, freshly made, or sustainable canned)
  • 40 grams of extra virgin olive oil
  • 40 grams of unsalted butter or ghee
  • 1 leek (about 1/2 cup), quartered lengthwise and sliced thin crosswise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh fines herbes, finely chopped (a combination of parsley, chives, tarragon, and chervil)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock (recommended: Kitchen Basics)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cup self-rising flour

Equipment

  • mini muffin tins equaling 24-28 muffins

Directions

If you need to cook the salmon:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Skin the salmon, if desired, and ensure pin bones are removed.
    1. You can remove the skin after cooking to simplify the process.
  3. Place salmon on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
  4. Salt and lightly oil both sides of the fish with extra virgin olive oil.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes per inch of thickness (measure at the thickest point).
  6. Remove from oven and allow to rest while preparing the biscuits.
    1. Don’t forget to chop it up (sans skin) before adding to the mixture!

Prepare the biscuits:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (if not already preheated to cook fish).
  2. To prepare muffin tins, either fill with paper liners or brush olive oil into each cup and lightly sprinkle with plain, dried breadcrumbs.
  3. Lightly coat the bottom of a medium saute pan with some of the olive oil or a pat of the butter and place the pan over medium heat.
  4. Saute the leeks, stirring occasionally, until tender and just starting to turn golden, about 4-6 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat.
  7. Add the remaining butter and oil, allowing the butter to melt.
  8. Once the butter has melted, add the herbs, stock, and cream, stirring to combine.
  9. Whisk in the egg.
  10. Put flour into a large mixing bowl.
  11. Gently stir in the leek mixture until just incorporated.
  12. Gently fold in the chopped salmon.
  13. Fill the muffin cups with the mixture.
  14. Place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  15. Cool for five minutes on a rack before removing biscuits from tins.

Tips, Tricks, and Substitutions

I always recommend following a recipe the way it’s written before making any changes; your substitutions will work out much better if you know what the food tastes like in its original form and can make educated substitutions. With that, here are my tips, tricks, and substitutions for this recipe:

Salmon: I always recommend wild-caught, Alaskan salmon that you cook yourself, which is so easy. Otherwise, canned salmon from a sustainable source. Also feel free to try a different type of fish. Rainbow trout would probably also be great! Remember a good oily fish is always healthiest, though.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This is one of the healthiest oils you can consume and also delicious for this particular dish, so I don’t recommend replacing it. Extra virgin is also important because this is the oil in its purest form.

Butter or Ghee: Recent research says that butter is not the enemy! If you’re wary, try using ghee, which has had the milk solids removed and is an anti-inflammatory. Otherwise, I recommend extra virgin olive oil throughout the whole dish, though it’s flavor may be more pronounced.

Leek: Thin leeks are the best quality. Remember, these can have a lot of dirt hiding between the layers, so the easiest way to prepare them is to chop them up and immerse them in a bowl of water, then drain. This will filter out all that dirt 🙂 If you need a substitute, go with Vidalia/sweet yellow onions.

Fines Herbes: Generally, use about equal parts of each herb unless you dislike the taste of a particular herb called for. For instance, if you’re like me and don’t like the taste of tarragon or chervil (which both taste like black licorice), reduce the amount of them used or omit them completely and use simply parsley and chives. Though, I highly recommend at least using a small amount because you may like the way a hint of it compliments the other herbs. Also, if you can’t find all of the herbs fresh, combine 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley or 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley and 1 tbsp chopped chives with 1 tsp dried fines herbes.

Heavy Cream: Usually a recipe like this would use whole milk, but I wanted the savory flavor of chicken stock, so I decided to use half chicken stock and half heavy cream, since the stock would have very little fat. In that case, you should think of this combination as the equivalent of whole milk rather than concentrating on how much fat is in heavy cream. And I might remind you that studies are now showing these fats aren’t all bad and, as far as children go, they’re vital to their growth, health, and brain function. Also, you can’t beat heavy cream in a biscuit, except with maybe buttermilk 😉

Self-Rising Flour: If you don’t have it and don’t want to buy it, put 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp kosher salt into a 1-cup dry measure, then fill the rest with all-purpose flour and level it off. Repeat a second time in order to end up with 2 cups self-rising flour. Basically, that’s 2 cups all-purpose minus 4 tsp, plus 1 tbsp baking powder and 1 tsp kosher salt.

Muffin Size: If you want to try regular muffin tins, bake for about 20 minutes and check from there.

Prepping the Pans: The point of oil and breadcrumbs is to mimic butter and flour, but this is much less tedious. I actually suspect the breadcrumbs are completely unnecessary and maybe even the oil, due to the large amount of butter and oil in the actual biscuits, but I’m just not willing to take that chance! At least not yet. The choice is, of course, yours 🙂

Filling the Cups: I always recommend little ice cream scoops with a release mechanism. Way less tedious!


THE STORY


My son has always had trouble with solids. He didn’t start eating them in any real way until about five months ago (he’s 19 months old) and, even then, it was really just Ritz crackers, which quickly and easily dissolved in his mouth. And he still gagged on them really often.

Now he does a lot better, though he still can’t eat the types of solids most toddlers his age can. The food has to be soft or easily broken up/dissolved. For instance, he can eat stale bread or crunchy biscotti, but he can’t eat grated raw carrot or peppers. He just doesn’t know how to use his mouth correctly to chew them up even though he has plenty of teeth.

Insert muffins…they’re soft and delicious, so he devours them quickly and with ease. And, of course, he loves them! We discovered this a couple months ago and though we’re constantly trying other foods first, we know we can depend on muffins to get nutrients in him, which leaves me on a mission to make them as healthy as possible, with a big variety of flavors, and to discover savory alternatives to the more commonly sweet breakfast muffin.

And that brings us to these mini salmon biscuits. I have to say I was worried how they’d turn out, but even I want to just eat and eat and eat them. What’s really great is you can make most of the recipe with leftovers! All of the flavors (olive oil, butter, leeks, garlic, herbs, chicken stock, cream) are basically just a sauce! That’s actually where I got my inspiration. One of my favorite recipes is “Salmon with Wine, Leeks, and Garlic” by Wini Moranville in her book The Bonne Femme Cookbook. 

I used all the ingredients that are in her sauce, but omitted the wine and, of course, altered the amounts to be appropriate for a biscuit/muffin recipe. I have to say, I’m so pleased with how they turned out and not only does my son love them, but I wouldn’t hesitate to serve these to a crowd. They’re cute, tasty, and perfect for brunch or as an hors d’oeuvre! I really hope you’ll give them a try and, even more so, use this recipe to come up with your own ideas for a delicious, savory biscuit your family will love.

Just think of it like this…125 grams of soft protein, 80 grams of liquid fat, 1/2 cup vegetables (especially aromatics!), 2 tbsp fresh herbs or 1 tbsp dried, 1 cup liquid, one egg, 2 cups flour (plus leaveners). The formula is there, you just have to come up with the flavors, which I think is the most exciting part 🙂

 

 

 

 

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