Normally I'm suspicious when it comes to non-beef burgers, since a proper hamburger is such a marvelous culinary pinnacle. Why mess with a good thing? Yet so many preconceived notions have met their doom (see Nick's turkey burger and lamburger in earlier Dinner Tonight entries). I became a salmon burger believer at a restaurant near my old apartment in Brooklyn called Petit Crevette, where they served up not a dry crumbly abomination, but a moist patty that flaked like a fillet on a brioche bun. Saddled with a craving recently, I set out to find a recipe.
I ended up with this Mark Bittman recipe on Bitten, which solves the problem of holding the meat together by totally pureeing 1/4 of the meat into a paste which holds the larger chunks of salmon together. While some recipes call for mayonnaise or an egg to keep the patties intact, I liked this purer salmon-only approach.
The result is a wonderful way to enjoy salmon. Taking the cue from some other recipes I found, I stirred in a little lemon juice and parsley into mayonnaise to create an herby sauce. A perfect match for the rich, flaky burger.
Adapted from Bitten
- 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless salmon
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 small shallots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup coarse bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 4 soft hamburger buns
Cut the salmon into large pieces, and combine 1/4 of the pieces with the mustard in a food processor. Process until the mixture becomes pasty, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add the shallots near the end so they are also finely chopped.
Turn out the mixture into a bowl and stir in the breadcrumbs by hand. Season with a healthy pinch of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper, and shape into four patties.
Heat butter or oil in a large (12-inch) skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is very hot, carefully place the patties inside and cook 2-3 minutes per side, turning once. Alternatively, grill them for the same amount of time, though be careful as the patties are rather fragile.
In the meantime, stir the remaining parsley and the lemon juice into the mayonnaise. Serve with the burgers on a bun or a bed of greens.