Food & Drink

Southern Flavor Bombs: Jerk Salmon Croquettes

Plus a recipe for the signature spicy-sweet seasoning

Photo: Brittany Connerly

This is my ode to the salmon croquette, a Southern breakfast (or even dinner) essential where my mama reigns supreme. Her technique is simple: Grab canned salmon; add finely chopped veggies, seasonings, and a few binders; mix to combine; and press into patties. She then fries these patties up and serves them with buttermilk biscuits and syrup. For her, croquettes won’t even get made if biscuits and syrup ain’t on deck. Playing around with this family classic meant I needed to go big or go home and go big I did. I use roasted salmon in place of canned—this is great with leftover salmon, y’all. I add jerk flavors throughout and sneak in pureed mango to balance out the heat. —Jocelyn Delk Adams, in her new cookbook, Everyday Grand: Soulful Recipes for Celebrating Life’s Big & Small Moments.

Read our interview with Adams, the brains behind the recipe blog Grandbaby Cakes, on inner joy, celebrating the mundane, and good food.

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  • Jerk Salmon Croquettes (Yield: 10 CROQUETTES, SERVES 5)

    • 5 tbsp. jerk seasoning (recipe follows) or store-bought, divided

    • 2 tsp. smoked paprika

    • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper

    • 1 tsp. kosher salt

    • 1 lb. cooked salmon, preferably wild-caught, skin removed (see Note)

    • ½ cup cubed mango

    • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

    • ⅓ cup plain bread crumbs

    • ¼ cup finely diced yellow onion

    • ¼ cup finely diced green bell pepper

    • 6 tbsp. canola oil or other neutral oil

    • ½ cup sour cream

    • 1 tbsp. minced fresh chives, plus more for serving

    • Lime wedges, for serving

  • For the jerk seasoning (Yield: A generous ½ cup)

    • 1 tbsp. garlic powder

    • 1 tbsp. dark brown sugar

    • 1 tbsp. dried parsley

    • 2 tsp. cayenne pepper

    • 2 tsp. smoked paprika

    • 2 tsp. onion powder

    • 2 tsp. kosher salt

    • 1 tsp. ground allspice

    • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

    • 1 tsp. dried thyme

    • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

    • ½ tsp. ground cumin

    • ½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

    • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes


  1. Make the jerk seasoning: In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients. Store in a lidded jar in a cool, dark place for up to 4 months.

  2. Make the salmon: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of the jerk seasoning, the paprika, cayenne, and salt until combined; set aside.

  4. Set a bowl of water next to your workspace. In a large bowl, break the salmon into flakes. In a blender or mini food processor, combine the mango and lime juice and puree until smooth.

  5. Add the mango-lime puree to the bowl with the salmon, then add the bread crumbs, onion, bell pepper, and jerk mixture and mix it on up with your hands to thoroughly combine. Form the salmon mixture into 2-inch-wide patties, moistening your hands with water to prevent the mixture from sticking. Place the shaped patties on a large plate as you work; you should get 10 patties.

  6. In a large ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron), heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in batches, if necessary, sear the patties until golden brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. (If working in batches, transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining patties, adding more oil to the pan between batches, if needed.) Flip the patties and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for about 7 minutes, until warmed through and golden brown on the bottom.

  7. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together the sour cream, chives, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of jerk seasoning. Serve the croquettes hot, with the seasoned sour cream for dipping, more chives, and lime wedges for squeezing over. The citrus just hits different.

  8. Note: To cook salmon fresh for these croquettes, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet with olive oil and place the salmon on it, skin-side down. Roast for 13–15 minutes, until the salmon is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before using for croquettes.

Reprinted from Everyday Grand, copyright © 2023 by Jocelyn Delk Adams. Photographs copyright © 2023 by Brittany Conerly. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.