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Ever Wonder Why Lemon Is Served With Fish?

Recently, Anne, a friendly rival yacht charter broker, was in the islands inspecting yachts and meeting with crews.  While there, she had a chance to sample what she described as "mouth watering" salmon cakes, prepared by chef Bruna Tatarow onboard Horizon motor yacht Lady Margaret, a 64 foot Virgin Islands yacht charter vessel.   

Anne mentioned Bruna provided lime rather than the standard lemon wedges, and that got me thinkin'…

WHY is lemon almost always served with fish?

I ran the question by the gang in our Puerto Rico yacht charter office (not sure why, but I figured our friends who live in the islands consume more fish than our meat-lovin' team in the states). 

The Puerto Rican team seemed to have an answer right away.  Maria, our office manager in San Juan, emailed this explanation:
"Originally, the lemon was served, not because it gave flavor to the fish, but because it was believed that the acidic juice of the lemon would dissolve any bones that might be swallowed."

Wow…I had no idea…

luxury yacht charter chef serves sliced lemon with salmon cakes - why put lemon on fish

Since I no longer feel as compelled to serve lemon with fish dishes, I'll share with you Chef Bruna's brunch-time recipe for spicy salmon cakes topped with a mango tartar sauce. Lime is her choice for tartness…
[Note: Thank you, Chef Bruna for the wonderful recipe and thank you,Captain Jan Robinson for the photo of the salmon cakes, from your Ship to Shore Cookbook.]
Spicy Salmon Cakes with Mango Tartar


Tartar Sauce:
·         1 cup peeled, diced ripe mango (1 large)
·         1/2 cup mayonnaise
·         1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
·         Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
Salmon Cakes:
·         Vegetable oil, for frying
·         1 lb cooked salmon, flaked
·         1 cup panko
·         2 eggs, lightly beaten
·         3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
·         3 tablespoons chopped shallots
·         1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
·         1/4 teaspoon salt
·         Freshly ground black pepper
·         1/3 cup cornmeal

To make tartar sauce, whisk together the mango, mayonnaise, capers, and salt and pepper, to taste, in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Heat 1/4-inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Put the salmon in a medium bowl and break it up with a fork, watch for bones. Add the panko, eggs, parsley, shallots, cayenne and salt. Season with black pepper, to taste, and mix well. Form the mixture into 12 cakes and coat them with the cornmeal.  Carefully put the cakes in the oil, 5 or 6 at a time, and cook until golden brown; about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Arrange them on a serving platter and serve immediately with tartar sauce.


Want more recipes from the galleys of luxury yacht charter vessels?   Go to

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