Monday, June 1, 2009

Salmon Burgers

Having been born and raised on the east coast, seafood was a normal part of my diet. I can remember quite fondly going to Long Island to see my grandparents, going out to some restaurant that may or may not exist any more, and surprising my grandfather as I ate all sorts of assorted sea creatures with nary a thought. At family gatherings, if there was a fish on the menu, it was usually on my plate. I'm fairly certain that out of nearly 30 some odd dinners on cruises, I had seafood as my main course for at least 25 of them. Mako shark, swordfish, whitefish, red fish, squid, octopi, clams, mussles, oysters, shrimp, crabs, lobster, frogs (not technically seafood but aquatic none the less) I've eaten and enjoyed them all (some more than others depending on how they were cooked).

So, imagine my sense of awe when 5 years ago I went to visit Oregon State University in Corvallis, and discovered the salmon burger. All I could say was "where have you been all my life!?!" Thankfully, with the rise of Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and even the organic section of your local grocer, these tasty treats are available nearly every now. Unfortunately, I'm still a grad student on a budget, and paying $6 for 4 burger is a little steep. So channelling all of the culinary MacGyver vibes I could, I set out this weekend to make my own.

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It may not be the prettiest girl at the ball, but I wouldn't have any other. (Ok, I'd never pass on a store bought one, but thats not the point here). They're rather like making normal hamburgers from ground beef, only different. Since beef has lots of fat, its normally pretty sticky. Salmon is much much leaner, so you'll actually need to add some fat in to help bind things together. Don't worry though, as opposed to the saturated fats in beef, we're going to stick to relatively healthy olive oil. Combine that with the health benefits salmon normally brings to the table, and I think salmon burgers should be looked at as the new replacement for the hamburger. Or not...

Salmon Burgers:
1/2 pound chunk salmon, de-boned and de-skinned
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup prepared mustard (coarse grain or dijon is best)
2 tbsp. ketchup*
2 tsp. prepared horseradish*
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp. mustard powder
2 tsp. dill weed
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground pepper

*You can use cocktail sauce instead of the ketchup and horseradish if you prefer
  1. Shred salmon into fine pieces with a fork, or pulse quickly in a food processor.
  2. Add the onion and spices and combine thoroughly. Its easier to get all of the salmon integrated with the spices now than after adding the wet works.
  3. Add the wet ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Work the panko in with your fingers to distribute.
  4. Using your hands, grab a bit of the salmon mix just bigger than a golf ball and form into a pattie in your hands. Place on a square of parchment or wax paper, lay another square on top, and continue till you've used up all the mix. Freeze all of the patties you don't plan on using right then.
  5. To cook, heat a griddle pan over medium heat and lightly spray with no-stick spray. When the pan is hot, add the pattie and let cook for about 2-3 minutes a side. Salmon, being a lot lighter than beef, cooks much quicker and you don't want to cook it to the point of drying out. Serve on a bun with a little lettuce, an onion slice, some cheddar, and either some mustard or cocktail sauce (or both!).

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Ok, it does look a bit like cat food, but then again, ground beef doesn't look that appetizing when sitting raw in a bowl either.

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Fresh off the griddle, prior to being crowned and consumed.

While these may never replace that memory of the first time boy met salmon burger, for being a lot less than 50 cents a piece, I'm perfectly happy with how these babies turned out. And with the money I'm now saving by not buying salmon burgers from Whole Foods, I can afford to make a new beer! Yup, you heard me right, I'm making a new beer, and this time its not from a kit, so be prepared for some home brewing related posts coming up soon.


1 comment:

Darius T. Williams said...

Lookin good! I love salmon and in a burger - you really can't go wrong.