Burgers could possibly be one of the most supreme categories of food ever! As it rains and rains this week, I am anxiously awaiting the day that I can start up the grill for the first time this season. I have every intention of consuming more red meat this summer than any sane person would recommend. My plan is this: eat a burger, have a beer, go to the gym to counter said burger and beer, eat a burger, drink a beer, go to the gym, and on and on and on for a solid five months. It’s worked in the past.
Now, because I plan to do my body significant harm this grilling season, and because I am dying for something burger-like, I recently decided that salmon burgers were in order. They are very healthy, they taste delicious, and my seafood-skeptical wife will eat them. On a weekly basis, my wife and I get together will a few of our friends for yoga night. When we are done yoga and we are feeling all zen and connected to the trees and all of that stuff, we pop whatever meal we have prepared onto the stove and eat furiously. See, it is the eating that propels us to do yoga. It is the same logic as above. Everything is connected. Yoga taught me that.
This past week I made salmon burgers for yoga night and we all loved them. In fact, they were perfect: slightly spicy, just enough acidity, seared golden brown and deliciously moist. Just what the doctor ordered. I don’t believe we even talked while we ate, and this is impressive because there are a few of us that rarely shut up. They were so good that I vowed to never to touch the recipe, and I decided to make them again this week and blog about it.
When you make these burgers, give yourself a little time. They need to refrigerate at least thirty minutes before you cook them off so that they don’t fall apart all over your brand new white blouse (blouse is a good word – let’s all agree the world would be a better place if we brought blouses back).
Enough with the small talk, here is the recipe:
1 ¾ lb. fresh Atlantic salmon, skin removed
3T. Dijon mustard
1 ½ T. mayonnaise
1 ½ T. lemon juice, fresh
¾ t. grated lemon zest
¼ t. cayenne pepper (cut amount in half if you don’t like a little heat)
3 T. panko bread crumbs, plus more for breading patties
4 sprigs dill, fresh
3 scallions, chopped
2-3 T. Extra virgin olive oil (if you have Avocado oil on hand, even better!)
Arugula, for topping
1 Avocado, for topping
6 onion buns (substitute whole wheat buns if you are seeking a healthier option)
Lemon Dill Aioli, for topping (see recipe below)
- Remove skin from salmon and dice ¾ of the meat into small, ¼ inch pieces. Reserve in a large bowl. Cut the remaining ¼ of the meat into 1 inch chunks and place into a food processor along with the mayo, mustard, 2 sprigs of dill (main stem removed), lemon juice, lemon zest, and cayenne pepper. Pulse mixture into a paste. This will be your binding agent. Add the paste into the bowl of ¼ inch diced salmon along with your chopped scallions, remaining 2 sprigs of chopped dill, 3 T. panko bread crumbs, ¾ t. salt, and black pepper, to taste. Stir gently to combine.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (no worries if you don’t have any- this just makes the cleanup easier). Spray with cooking spray or grease with olive oil. Divide the salmon mixture into 4 equal lumps on the parchment paper and form into equal-sized patties that are no more than ¾ inch thick. The mixture will be difficult to handle. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This will allow them time to set and they will be much easier to handle afterwards. Meanwhile, prepare your aioli.
- When you are ready to cook your burgers, preheat broiler to lightly toast the buns. Spread a layer of panko bread crumbs on a plate and season them with salt. Press both sides of the burger patties into the bread crumbs, adding more crumbs to the plate as needed. Heat avocado oil or olive oil in cast-iron skillet or heavy non-stick pan over med-high heat. Add burger patties in 2 batches and cook until nicely browned, 3-4 minutes per side. Check in on them as they cook to make sure you don’t have to adjust the heat. Meanwhile, lightly toast your buns, slice your avocado, and get your arugula and aioli ready for topping. When the burgers are done they should feel springy in the middle. Don’t be that guy that overcooks them. Construct your delicious burger and enjoy!
Lemon Dill Aioli:
4 T. mayonnaise
2 T. Dijon mustard
1 t. lemon juice
1 t. grated lemon zest
¼ t. cayenne pepper
2 t. shallot, minced
1 T. dill, chopped
- Mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Done!