14 July 2008

recipe: in season - wild salmon burgers

Summer spells wild Alaskan salmon season, so get it while the getting's good.

And for the record, I will never, ever recommend farmed salmon to you-- it's not very environmentally friendly, and really, it has hardly any flavor, especially side-by-side to wild salmon, not to mention that color is added to get it that mediocre orangy-pink color. Wild salmon is a super vibrant rosy orange, super nutritious AND low in mercury.

For these, I took a cue from the turkey burgers I've made a few times, using some Asian influences. I've also made these without the chili paste and garlic, for a less spicy version, and they've come out great! You could eat these without the bun and just have them as nice little patties- or make them smaller and you'll have salmon 'cakes'.

Recipe: Wild Salmon Burgers
Makes 4 burgers

1 lb. wild salmon, skin removed (they can do this for you at the fish counter)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chives or 1 medium shallot, chopped
2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1-inch ginger, peeled and grated or chopped very small
1 tablespoon Asian chili paste or sambaal (optional)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 egg, beaten

4 whole wheat buns

1. To make the burgers you'll need to chop up the salmon. I usually do this by cutting the salmon into long strips, and then dicing it. Take the diced salmon and run your knife through it a few times to get smaller pieces. It's okay if it's a little chunky.
Note: You may notice some pin bones. If there are any that are especially large, remove them with your fingers, but once you chop this up and the burgers are cooked they won't be much of a problem. Plus, hey, extra calcium!

2. In a medium sized bowl, place all of the ingredients and mix well to combine with your hands.

3. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium-high to high heat. Meanwhile, shape the salmon mixture into four equal-sized patties. If you've never made salmon burgers, these will seem a little 'loose' compared to burgers made with ground meat.

4. Once the pan is hot, spray with non-stick cooking spray (I like Spectrum's High Heat Canola spray). Alternately, you could use a little olive oil, but you'll want to leave it on the pan for a minute to heat.

5. Place all of the patties into the pan, or do 2 at a time, depending on the size of your pan. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until browned. If it seems to be browning too quickly, lower your heat. Flip and repeat. I like mine a little bit on the rarer side, so I cook them for about 2 minutes per side. This is also a good option if you will be putting them in the fridge to reheat for another meal-- overcooked salmon is a travesty! But if you like yours well done, cook for 3-minutes per side. Place on a toasted bun and enjoy with your favorite toppings!

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