Salmon Wiggle

Plain Canned Salmon, peas, and saltines

Salmon Wiggle 

A Note About The Author: This recipe was written by Jenna Rozelle. You can follow Jenna on Instagram @jennarozelle.

The name might not inspire hunger, but just trust me. Some call it “Creamed Salmon and Peas'' but that’s too stodgy for such a joyous meal that offers the easy contentment most of us leave behind in childhood and only hope to find again as elders.

My gram used to make this for me at our family beach house where the only concerns were joy and contentment. I always figured no one else liked it because she only made it for me when we were alone.

As an adult, now caring about where my food came from, I stopped making it because I didn’t have a source of salmon that I felt good about. When I heard Wildfish Cannery was going to start plain-packing some of their pink salmon I knew immediately what I was going to do.

I got my first cans last week and made it mostly from clear memory of my gram at the stove, whisking, windows open, salt-air pushing through. Everything worked just as I remembered but the salmon tasted sweeter, the flesh held its delicate shape and rosy color in the creamy sauce.

My husband, who was not at all confident that he would like it, tried his first bite, warm, on a saltine and threw his head back, shouting “OH!.. It’s like the best chowder.”

I ran this by my great aunt Bev and my mom and uncle at lunch and they all had the same “Ahhhh yes, he’s right." moment as me. I also learned that gram and I were NOT the only people that liked it. Bev said that my great grandmother, Olive, used to make it all the time – one can for six kids, and every single one loved it. My mother said she used to lick the can. I showed them the photo that I took for this recipe and they all gawked at the fat, pink flakes of fish (and were skeptical of the herbs.)

Maybe after all those years of gram having to share one can with five siblings or five kids, she wanted to have one to herself once in a while and I just came sniffing around and got lucky. 

Feeds two. Four if you feel like sharing. 


  • 1 6oz can of Wildfish Cannery Plain Pack Pink Salmon
  • 2 Tbsp butter 
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 ⅓ cup frozen peas
  • Saltine crackers (or toast )
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chopped herb for garnish (optional, potentially blasphemous but I like them) - dill, parsley, or chive are favorites.
  • Lemon wedge (optional)


Gather your ingredients. Toast and butter your bread if you want toast instead of crackers but I’d really encourage you to use Saltines at least the first time.

Melt the butter in a skillet or saucepan over low/medium heat. A heavy-bottomed pan is best so you get nice even heat without hot spots.

Add the flour and begin whisking. If the mixture begins sticking or browning, lower the heat. Whisk until the flour has absorbed the butter - a minute or less.

Add the milk ⅓ cup at a time while whisking. It will seize up into a clumpy paste - don’t worry, it looks bad but it’s supposed to do this, just keep adding the milk ⅓ cup at a time, whisking until everything is smooth and thickened so that a spoon dragged across the pan leaves a trail that lasts a moment. This all should only take a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the frozen peas and stir gently with the spoon now not the whisk.

Open the can of salmon, drain the liquid (into a dish for the dog or cat preferably) and add the salmon to the pan. Break up the larger pieces into hearty, bite-sized flakes and stir gently to mix. Leave on the heat just until the salmon is warmed through - a minute or two. If it thickens more than you’d like, add a splash of milk, just a tablespoon or so and stir in gently. Taste again and adjust for salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.

Put your toast or saltines on plates and spoon the salmon wiggle beside them. Some people spoon it over the top, but I like to do this as I eat so my saltines or toast don’t get soggy. Toss a handful of herbs over and a squeeze of lemon (both completely optional) maybe an extra crack of pepper and eat while warm.



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