Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Perfect Salmon Burgers

It's easy to fall into a rut when it comes to grilling. I've come up with a number of creative burger recipes, but they've all been beef burgers and I want to branch out into something a bit different in the burger department. I actually made these during my Memorial Day weekend grilling binge when I wanted to cap off the weekend with something a bit healthier from the grill. My biggest fear with cooking fish on the grill is sticking, which these burgers did a bit, but they were still delicious and deeply flavorful, if a little less aesthetically pleasing than I would have liked. The fatty, rich salmon is balanced well by pungent dijon mustard, bright, acidic lemon juice, and fresh scallions, enveloped by a crunchy layer of panko. I make a point of eating fish at least once a week and this was a welcome change from my typical salmon fillet. Making these burgers gave me a bit more confidence in my ability to grill fish, so hopefully I'll be graduating to grilling an entire fish on the grill sometime soon.

Perfect Salmon Burgers
from The Food Network
yields 4 burgers

1/4 pounds center-cut salmon fillet, skin and pin bones removed
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 scallions, chopped
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
4 brioche buns, split
Tartar sauce and arugula, for topping

1. Cut three-quarters of the salmon into 1/4-inch pieces. Put in a large bowl. Cut the rest of the salmon into chunks; transfer the chunks to a food processor along with the mustard, mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest and cayenne. Pulse to make a paste.

2. Add the pureed salmon mixture to the bowl with the diced salmon. Add the scallions, 2 tablespoons panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Gently mix until just combined.

3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with olive oil. Divide the salmon mixture into 4 mounds on the parchment paper. With damp hands, pat into 4-inch-wide, 3/4-inch-thick patties. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the broiler. Spread the remaining 1 cup panko on a plate. Press both sides of the salmon patties in the panko. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties (in batches if necessary) and cook until browned on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes, adjusting the heat if necessary. Turn and cook until the other side is browned and the patties feel springy in the center, 3 to 4 more minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; season with salt.

5. Meanwhile, arrange the buns, cut-side up, on a broiler pan and broil until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve the patties on the buns; top with tartar sauce and arugula.

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