Pairing foods depends on several factors, including flavor, texture, color, and seasonal availability in the case of fruits and vegetables. Strive for taste diversity without clashes, a variety of textures and hues for visual appeal, a balance of food groups, and using local foods while they're in season for best flavor and price. Salmon patties are salty and crunchy and have a pinkish brown color when fried or baked, all factors to consider when choosing side dishes.
Canned salmon is naturally salty, so avoid salty sides and opt for blander accompaniments such as boiled red potatoes, mashed russets, steamed rice or pasta dressed with a light lemon sauce that will highlight the flavor of the fish. Keep green and yellow vegetables simple as well, avoiding sodium-laden cheese sauces and opting for seasonings like fresh lemon juice.
The soft textures of boiled or mashed potatoes, rice and pasta also play well against the crunchy exterior of salmon patties. The same applies to vegetables; they should be crisp-tender to complement the crunchiness of the patties and devoid of roasted nuts or broiled breadcrumb toppings. Imagine how each food feels in your mouth and strive for different consistencies in every bite.
Since the eyes set the stage for enjoying a meal, treat the plate as an artist’s palette. The appealing pink-brown color of salmon patties would fade alongside pan-browned or baked potatoes or brown rice. Conversely, the pink fish brightens the plate when placed alongside green, yellow, bright red or white foods such as broccoli, summer squash, roasted tomatoes or white asparagus.
When planning your salmon patty meal, scan the local grocery ads or stroll through the produce department to see what looks freshest and is most economically priced. Keep an open mind and try different greens and root vegetables like kale, mustard greens, turnips and parsnips instead of sticking with old standbys. For a quick side dish that never fails, choose five or six fresh salad ingredients of different colors and consistencies to serve with salmon patties.
Another idea to remember when preparing side dishes of seasonal vegetables is that vegetables with deeper coloration are more nutritious while a variety of colors provides a wider range of vitamins. Opt to eat greens, yellow peppers, red radishes and possibly purple cauliflower, all of which can be roasted together in the oven and served over a bed of greens.
Tips and Suggestions
When planning any menu, keep an open mind. Just because your mother served salmon patties with creamed peas for decades doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. Use your imagination and common sense in conjunction with your palate and eyes to choose food pairings. For example, if one of your hot sides is rice pilaf, don’t serve a rice salad. Mashed potatoes pale in appeal when placed beside cauliflower, and corn on the cob loses its luster snuggled up against yellow summer squash. Keep a variety of textures, colors and flavors on the plate and most meals will turn out successfully.
Cassie Damewood has been a writer and editor since 1985. She writes about food and cooking for various websites, including My Great Recipes, and serves as the copy editor for "Food Loves Beer" magazine. Damewood completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing at Miami University.