I’ve had my share of salmon burgers – most of them frozen and shrinkwrapped, tasty but dry. I’ve never fallen in love with a salmon burger until today. These were made with fresh salmon – steelhead trout, actually – roughly chopped, which makes all the difference, texture-wise. Doing it in the food processor would turn them into paste – and using a knife took all of five minutes to produce a loose mixture that barely held its shape as a patty, but cooked up nicely as one, turning golden and crusty in a hot cast iron skillet. In about five minutes.
I’m on a bit of a burger bender these days. (For charity, right? It’s the least I could do. Really.) And while I do adore a good beefy burger, I was challenged to come up with some alternatives to the usual red meat – and I’m so glad I was, or I would never have known these exist. They’re moist and juicy with a crunchy edge – lots of crispy bits – and the layers of veggies, tangy mayo and soft bun? Seriously.
The tartar sauce: I feel like the term evokes images of pale yellow sauce in a jar, reserved for bad fish & chips. But. It’s really just a tangy mix of mayo and pickles – gerkhins and such – which sounds to me exactly what I’d love on any burger. This ramekin of mayo, lemon juice and capers is so much better than I imagined, I may have finished the lot, spooned directly over slabs of ripe tomato and cucumber, cut into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler.
I’m already plotting when we can be together again.
Salmon Burgers with Caper Mayo
Adapted from Ricardo – with massive thanks.
1 lb skinless salmon or steelhead trout
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup soft breadcrumbs
1-2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. grainy mustard
salt and pepper
canola or olive oil, for cooking
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp. capers, drained and chopped
freshly ground black pepper
thinly sliced cucumber
Roughly chop the salmon or trout, and combine it in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Set a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of oil. Shape the mixture into four patties and place them gently into the pan; cook until deep golden on one side, then flip and cook on the other side – they should cook through and be crusty and golden in about 5 minutes.
To make the caper mayo, stir together the mayo, lemon juice, capers and pepper. Spread on the buns and top with salmon patties, tomato, lettuce and thinly sliced cucumber – and a little more caper mayo. Serve immediately.