Recipes

Baked Salmon Casserole – 1971

So, I’m noticing a trend with the earliest Southern Living Cookbooks, in that most of them are of the “recipes collected from somewhere else” sort. Admittedly, I kind of like them like that. It feels more authentic somehow. It wasn’t More than likely it wasn’t created in a test kitchen somewhere. Someone actually had to send the recipe in to the cookbook makers. In this case that someone was Mrs. Evelyn Garber, from Harrisburg Virginia. Her recipe found its way into the Southern Living Casserole Cookbook.

Ingredients on a countertop, including canned milk, butter, onion, green pepper, salmon, salt, pepper, and bread.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • Butter
  • 1 can pink salmon, flaked
  • 1 large can evaporated milk *
  • 2 pieces of toasted bread, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*:Ingredient Note: I hate it when recipes don’t put the ounce… the amount and just put stuff like “1 large can” – how am I supposed to know what a large can of evaporated milk was in 1971?

As irritating as that is I just soldiered on and assumed that a 12 oz can (the larger of the two evidently) was what’s called for. As far as I can tell, canned salmon all comes in that weirdly shaped 14.75 oz can, so that’s what I went with.

So starting off with the prep… the chopping of the onions and the green peppers. No big deal. The canned salmon’s a bit more a headache. See, just in case you’ve never opened a can of salmon, here’s what it looks like straight out of the can.

a plastic bowl of canned tuna, prior to removing bones and skin

Lovely, huh?

So anyway, the “flaking” part? More like pick through all the yucky stuff to find the meat.

Finally, we’ve got this.

a plastic bowl of boneless, skinless canned salmon. It has been flaked.

Much better.

Moving on to the rest, now that that nightmare’s over- the onion and green pepper are sauteed in the butter, for about 10 minutes.

A frying pan of diced onion and green peppers, sautéing in butter

While that’s happening, I toasted the bread and crumbled it as best as I could…. Think maybe I should have toasted it for longer….

a small bowl of toasted bread crumbs

Then all the ingredients are mixed together (I mixed the dry stuff first)

A white bowl with a mixture of bread crumbs, onion, and green peppers

Hey, not looking so bad.

Now to add the milk…

a can of evaporated milk being added to the bowl of bread crumbs, onions, and green peppers

Oh…

Well, maybe it’ll look better when it’s all mixed and put in the cooking dish?

a round baking dish filled with an overly moist mixture of cream, bread crumbs, onion, and green peppers

Or… maybe when it’s baked?

A round baking dish of somewhat browned salmon casserole. It still looks rather moist.

Yeah, that’s not so bad. Look’s pretty good actually.

Now, let’s just hope I don’t have a repeat of last week’s puddle…

Well… it’s not a puddle, but I wouldn’t consider it firm  either…

a plate featuring salmon casserole. The liquid from the casserole runs across the plate.

Verdict:
Well, it doesn’t look horrible… not necessarily good thought once it’s served up. But the taste is surprisingly nice. It’s not overly fishy and the flavors are pretty well balanced, with the onions and peppers coming out just enough. Unfortunately the texture is… well.. mushy. There’s just way too much liquid here. It’s not enough to turn me off of it completely, but it’s a close thing. I’m wondering if there’s a difference in the size of evaporated milk cans now, versus then. If that can be fixed, then it might not actually be that bad.

I’m giving it a (very low) 2.5 out of 4. The flavor’s good, but it has a lot of problems, mostly stemming I think from the amount of milk.

Baked Salmon Casserole

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Rating: ★★1/2
  • Print
from Southern Living Casserole Cookbook1971, by Mrs. Evelyn Garber, Harrisburg Virginia

Ingredients


1 small onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
Butter
1 can pink salmon, flaked
1 large can evaporated milk
2 pieces of toasted bread, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In saucepan, cook the onion and green pepper with butter for about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Combine the remaining ingredients- salmon, toast crumbs, milk- with the onion/pepper mixture and season to taste. Mix well.

Place in greased baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.

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