It’s summer, and totally time for grilling. And that means burgers, of course. But what do you do if you’re trying to cut back on red meat? You make burgers out of other things that are not meat. Like salmon! (Ok, I know some people do consider fish a type of meat. I consider it health food, and these are a lighter, healthier alternative to beefy burgers, even if they aren’t straight up vegetarian.)
This basic recipe is from Mark Bittman, and what I love most about it is that it’s so adaptable. I made this recipe once as written, and another time with a teriyaki and ginger bent. I’m looking forward to experimenting with many combinations of flavors this summer. We are going to stretch the limits of burgers, my friends.
This recipe does call for a food processor. And you might cringe a little inside at the idea of blending up a fish paste. At least, I did. But don’t be afraid! You aren’t really making fish paste. Use a light touch with your food processor, and you’ll have these suckers ready in just a few minutes. Which is a total bonus when it’s summertime, since the last thing you want to do is hustle around the kitchen all evening. If you don’t have a food processor, you can achieve the same ends with a sharp knife and a fork. It might take a little longer, but it’s still a painless process.
If you don’t have a grill, you can totally fake it indoors. These cook up very nicely in a skillet. We finished them off in a warm oven, to ensure they were cooked through. Unlike burgers, I don’t like my fish medium rare.
Oh, and that potato salad you see? It was phenomenal. It’s a Lemon Basil Potato Salad, from a recipe that The Pioneer Woman posted recently, and I fell in love with it the minute I saw it. Potato Salad is my quintessential summer side dish, and this bright and tangy lemony version is a wonder. It was a perfect partner to the briny capers in the salmon burgers. But even if you’re not interested in caper salmon burgers, you should still check out that potato salad. It will be a frequent picnic table guest around these parts, I’m sure.
Make these this weekend! You won’t be sorry. I’ll be in Anaheim this weekend, hanging out with thousands of librarians, and I’m sure there will be several moments when I wish that I was home with my man, grilling some salmon burgers.
- 12 ounces salmon, skin and pin bones removed
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 small shallot, chopped
- ¼ cup bread crumbs
- ½ tablespoon capers
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the salmon into large chunks. Put about a quarter of it in the food processor, with 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and pulse until you have a coarse paste. (Alternatively, you can use a fork to mush it all together in a bowl.)
- Add the chopped shallot and the rest of the salmon, and pulse until the mixture is chopped, but not pasty. Without a processor, use a knife and/or fork to cut the rest of the salmon into the already mushed fish. You’re looking for a mixture with small chunks that will hold together fairly well, but not feel like a paste or dough.
- By hand, stir in the bread crumbs, capers, and salt and pepper.
- Shape the mixture into patties, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
- When you’re ready to cook, heat a grill or a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook each burger for about 4 minutes on each side. Serve with the toppings of your choice, and enjoy.