A couple of years ago, I worked at a bakery/café that served some amazing salmon burgers. But the burgers weren’t made in-house, so I always assumed the process was complicated or time-consuming.
In fact, you can crank out these Salmon Burgers in about the same amount of time it takes to heat up a frozen pizza. And they are good.
When I stumbled onto Mark Bittman’s recipe yesterday, I was ready for it to require an overnight chilling or truffle oil, but it’s incredibly simple. You might even have most of the ingredients on hand: salmon, Dijon mustard, shallots, bread crumbs and capers. The “secret” is that you let your food processor do most of the work, followed by a little stirring. Shape the burgers, cook them in a nonstick skillet, and you’re done.
The burgers are firm but juicy, and the capers add a nice surprise to each bite. I sandwiched mine in a toasted hamburger bun with lettuce, thinly sliced red onion, a slice of Provolone and a little tartar sauce, but they could definitely hold their own on a bed of greens.
Adapted from Mark Bittman (“Bitten,” NYT, June 6, 2008)
Yield: 4 large burgers
- 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless salmon
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 shallots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup coarse bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- Lemon wedges
- Tabasco sauce
- Optional burger toppings: lettuce, red onion, Provolone, tartar sauce
- Cut the salmon into large chunks, and put about a quarter of it into the container of a food processor, along with the mustard. Turn the machine on, and let it run – stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary – until the mixture becomes pasty.
- Add the shallots and the remaining salmon, and pulse the machine until the fish is chopped and combined with the puree. No piece should be larger than a quarter inch or so; be careful not make the mixture too fine.
- Scrape the mixture into a bowl, and stir in the bread crumbs, capers and some salt and pepper. Shape into four burgers.
- Place the butter or oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet, and turn the heat to medium-high. When the butter foam subsides or the oil is hot, cook the burgers for 2 to 3 minutes a side, turning once. Alternatively, you can grill them: let them firm up on the first side, grilling about 4 minutes, before turning over and finishing for just another minute or two. To check for doneness, make a small cut and peek inside. Be careful not to overcook. Serve on a bed of greens or on buns or by themselves, with lemon wedges and Tabasco or any dressing you like.