Home Recipe IndexBreakfast Polenta Cakes with Smoked Salmon

Polenta Cakes with Smoked Salmon

by Emily
Smoked Salmon Polenta Cakes

Based on my last post about Doenjang (Soybean Paste) Stew, you should know that I’m not all that into breakfast. BUT, I decided to share an American breakfast (or maybe brunch?) option that I can get behind. It is a play on Bagels and Lox. For our American breakfast, I am serving polenta cakes with smoked salmon and goat cheese.

A few months back during the winter holidays, our grandparents, Pie-Pie and Marilyn, stopped by Zabars in New York. They brought back some smoked salmon, cream cheese, and bagels down south. Now I, of course, couldn’t eat the bagels so I started thinking about what would be a tasty substitute (to me, gluten free bagels are okay at best.)

I thought and thought, and finally decided – “Gosh darn it, why am I trying to replicate Marilyn’s northern sensibility?! I’m bringing out the grits.”

A tray of smoked salmon polenta cakes
These individual polenta cakes with smoked salmon are perfect serving size for a light brunch. Eat more if you are super hungry!

I eventually landed on the use of Polenta because it has better structural integrity (But UGH who likes that word? POOOLEEENTTTAA just sounds funny to me). Polenta is a staple of Italian cuisine while grits are a Southern American thing. Polenta is made from ground yellow corn and the texture is courser and thicker. Grits are typically made from white corn and are finer in texture. In other words, they are in the same flavor family but are not the same thing.

You can make the polenta the night before. Pour it into an inch-thick glass dish and let it chill. For all of those out there who are thinking, “Wait, she made me cook the polenta so that it can just cool off and harden again.” The answer is yes, yes I am. The purpose of cooling it is to let it harden. When hardened, you cut the individual cakes and pan sear (or pan fry if you want to go that route) the sides.

After that, all you have to do is chop some green onions and assemble on the polenta cakes. It is as easy as that! If you would like to substitute capers for the green onions go ahead! It is just as yummy.

I like goat cheese because it adds a bit more tanginess than the cream cheese option (which you can totally go for as well because it is equally as awesome.) The tanginess gives a punch of flavor behind the fresh smoothness of smoked salmon and the grittiness of the polenta.

In the end, these smoked salmon polenta cakes are my southern take on Bagels and Lox! I hope you enjoy!

A tray of smoked salmon polenta cakes
A tray of smoked salmon polenta cakes

Join Our Mailing List!

Subscribe to our mailing list and receive new recipes in your inbox!

Polenta Cake with Smoked Salmon

Recipe by Emily
5.0 from 2 votes
Course: Breakfast, Entrées


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time






  • 3 cups of Water

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 cup of Polenta (I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Polenta.)

  • 1½ TBSP of butter

  • 8 oz goat cheese log. Use as much as desired.

  • 100-200 grams smoked salmon packet. Use as much as desired

  • 2 green onion sliced thin


  • First cook the polenta: In a medium deep pot over high heat, bring water and ½ tsp of salt to boil. Once boiling, gradually whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to simmer. Stir frequently as to prevent burning on the bottom of the pot. Add butter and stir until melted. Add further salt if needed.
  • Once thickened, pour polenta into a glass bakeware (I use a 3 to 4 quart oblong) or something similar. This recipe serving size entirely depends on the thickness of your polenta in the dish and the size of your cake cutouts. I try to get my polenta to be 1 to 1½ inches thick. Let it cool on the counter for 10-20 minutes. Refrigerate until fully hardened and chilled.
  • While polenta is chilling, thinly slice 2 stocks of green onions.
  • Once chilled, pull out polenta. Cut individual polenta cakes out using a cookie cutter. I use either a 3 or 4 inch cookie cutter depending on how hungry I am!
  • Heat shallow nonstick pan over medium high heat. Once heated, well-oil the pan and let the oil heat up. Place the polenta cake in the frying pan, sear one side until it is darker golden brown, flip and sear the other side. The inside of the cake should also be fully heated. Repeat for all the cakes
  • Once cakes are done, top them with a heaping pile of goat cheese. Add the salmon onto of the goat cheese. Finally add the thinly sliced green onions. Add the optional lemon slice as a garnish. Serve the polenta salmon cakes immediately.
  • For those who want to mix it up, have different topping and cheese options. You can replace the goat cheese with cream cheese. Capers or onion slices can subsitute the green onions. It is a great “build your own” recipe!

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @carvingajourney on Instagram and hashtag it

Like this recipe?

Follow us @carvingajourney on Pinterest

Did you make this recipe?

Follow Carving A Journey on Facebook

Carving A Journey is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Although we may earn commissions for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website, these opinions are my own and I fully support these products. 

You may also like


Liz Lafranchise August 14, 2018 - 3:46 pm

I’m totally going to try this!

Jennifer August 4, 2018 - 7:56 pm

Good-ness that sounds wonderful. I am on a mission to make this.

Pie Pie August 1, 2018 - 10:00 pm

Sounds delicious. We definitely have to try this one!


Leave a Comment