I won’t pretend that I am the pinnacle of good health, but I do try my best to only feed my body good things these days. I quit smoking almost a decade ago (yay me!) and I’ve lost about fifty pounds but I still indulge in alcohol because it tastes yummy and I love it. But what I do is stay away from processed foods that I used to love like salami, bacon and even my beloved prosciutto. Then I began to feel sluggish after a juicy steak so when I was in the States I satisfied my beef craving with bison.
Here in Germany however Bison isn’t so easy to come by…do they even have bison floating around here? I haven’t had beef in a couple of years, since I visited my steak-loving papa and even then I got a delicious cut of bison at Ted’s Montana Grill (everyone check it out if you have one near you). But the thing is beef just doesn’t taste like it did back in the day when I was a kid, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t still have burger cravings. I am a red-blooded American, after all.
So when I need to have juicy meat pressed between two toasted buns with all the fixins, I reach for my favorite steak-like fish: salmon.
Anyone who has ever overcooked salmon—and I know you’re out there—you know exactly how heavy it can be. Which isn’t so great when you want light fare for dinner, but it is great when you want a burger without antibiotics, growth hormones and who knows what other kind of poison. Hence, my salmon burger.
All you need are Morimoto-style knife skills or a handy food processor. This will allow you to get any cut of salmon you want—deboned, of course—and put it in the processor to kind of “ground” it up.
And the best part of all is that you add the seasonings—in this case ginger, scallions, Dijon mustard and garlic—so the meat gets seasoned inside and out. If you want a more Asian flair add in soy or tamari sauce, add Bay or creole seasoning for a Cajun burger or whatever you want to flavor your burgers.
And here is where you can really get creative: the buns. Toast your basic sesame bun, whole wheat, whole grain or my personal favorite, pretzel rolls. The bakery is your oyster so you never have to partake of a boring burger ever again.
Salmon is my preferred burger because it is sturdy, but you can use tilapia, mahi mahi, snapper or cod. Any fish that floats your boat will do, but you might have to add more or less binding agents to make it stick like a burger.
Makes 2 juicy burgers.
6 oz. salmon filet, deboned
2 scallions, rough chopped
Sea salt & black pepper
1 ginger slice, chopped
1 egg white
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup Panko crumbs
1 onion, sliced
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1.5 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. roasted red pepper, chopped
*It is very important that you chop up your ingredients before adding them to the food processor. I know it seems redundant but it’ll give you a more uniform mixture instead of chunks here and there. You don’t want a bland bite here and overwhelming flavor there.
- Remove bones from salmon if necessary, then chop.
- Add salmon, salt, pepper, scallions, ginger, red peppers and garlic to food processor. Pulse ingredients on high until combined. If you pulse it too much it will end up like pate.
- Dump ingredients into a medium mixing bowl.
- Add in mustard and egg white and combine with your hands until blended.
- Sprinkle in Panko crumbs and combine with hands. Let sit for 10 minutes in fridge.
- Divide mixture in half and roll, then flatten into discs.
- Heat 2 skillets over medium high heat and divide olive oil into each.
- Add sliced onions to one skillet and cook until brown or caramelized.
- Cook burgers about 5 minutes on each side until medium, or however you prefer. If you cook the burgers more than 7 minutes they will be DRY!
- Toast buns in the oven until warm and slightly crisp, then top with your favorite condiments.
In true pub style I served with kettle chips and a cocktail. I know it isn’t a beer but I made a bloody screwdriver, which I normally would never do, but the hubs isn’t a fan of straight alcohol. So what you see is organic blood orange juice (fancy I know, but it was in the baby juice section…sorry babies!) and Siberian vodka with a lime wedge. Anyway it was delish but feel free to have a cold one instead.