Posted by johngl
Back in the Burger Your Way To Labor Day post, I mentioned something about the possibility of throwing a fish burger into the mix. Well, the wait is over and here it is:
Yep, this is a salmon burger. For all of you folks who no longer eat pigs, cows, deer, buffalo, chickens, or antelope, we now have the food for you. Sit down with your favorite grizzly bear and have a party!
This could also be one for the so-called vegetarians who still eat fish. I still don’t get that. Fish is meat, just like any other. You’ve even managed to piss off your own kind enough to form the Vegan Liberation Front, a splinter cell of real vegetarians.
Ah well, that is a rant for another day.
So, this recipe came to mind a few years ago when I’d cooked enough King salmon to feed 12 and only had 6 diners. What to do with all of that leftover salmon?
Inspired by a crab cake recipe that was more crab than cake, I decided to give it a whirl. Obviously, the experiment was successful or I wouldn’t be talking about it here.
So, a few nights ago, we had this dish:
That’s pan-seared Coho salmon with some leftover mango-Hatch chile pepper salsa. While the salsa looks a bit oxidized from it’s overnight stay in the fridge, the flavors were still fresh and bright.
Moving right along…
I wound up with some extra fish.
This is about 8oz of Coho that was pan seared. It’s perfectly edible after an overnight stay in the fridge, but it just doesn’t warm up well, you know? I mean, some things are better the next day, like chili or spaghetti sauce, but fish just doesn’t work as well that way.
If you have some bread around, take about a half slice and whirl it up in a food processor. If you don’t have bread around, or heaven forbid, you don’t even have a mini food processor, then just use a fistful of some panko bread crumbs. (The mini processors are really inexpensive and are really handy. I have two of them.)
To this, add your leftover salmon. As I mentioned, this salmon is precooked, but you can use fresh or even canned salmon for this kind of burger.
Continue to break it up and mix it with the bread crumbs. I use a fork to smoosh and mix.
We’re not trying to break the salmon into tiny little flakes, so leave it somewhat chunky. Add a bit of mayo to the mix along with salt, pepper, and a tiny bit of garlic and onion powders.
Mix it all up like you would a tuna salad sammy, but don’t make it too wet. I go for a consistency where it just holds together nicely when squeezed into a ball. If it is too dry and crumbly, add just a small amount of mayo. If it’s a little too wet, add some more bread crumbs. Try not to do this sort of adjustment more than once or you’ll get a salmon flavored bread and mayo ball.
Anyway, once your done with it, form it into a 4oz ball and flatten it into a patty.
Notice how chunky that is?
Now, to remove some surface moisture, dust it with some corn starch.
I use a strainer and about a teaspoon of corn starch. Just hold the strainer with the corn starch over the patties and tap the strainer with a spoon. A light dusting is all you will need. Do this to both sides of your patty. You will probably want to use a spatula to help you flip the patties. It will limit the damage you do to the patty. If you tell me you don’t have a spatula, I might just have to slap you.
You’ll need an egg. Surely you have an egg.
You’d probably be surprised how many times I get told “John, I love your blog. I get hungry just reading it. But your recipes always require all this specialized stuff.”
An egg is not specialized stuff. It is a necessity. Much like a mini-food processor (and a spatula).
Break your egg into a bowl and add a bit of crushed ice. Whip it with a fork. You must have a fork. If your fork is dirty, wash it for goodness sake.
Now brush the egg wash onto the patties. If you don’t have a silicone basting brush, dip some egg into a teaspoon and dump it on the patty. Spread the egg around the patty with the back of the spoon.
Now just sprinkle some panko bread crumbs onto the patties.
The corn starch gives the egg something to stick to. The panko sticks to the egg. I don’t do the traditional dipping method (into the corn starch, then into the egg wash, then into the panko) with these salmon patties because they’ll fall apart, I’ll get pissed, and the most glorious spousal unit will not be happy. Besides, that method wastes a lot of corn starch and panko and my hands always get gooey.
Cook your panko-encrusted patty over medium heat in a pan coated with olive oil. If you don’t have a pan or olive oil, just give up cooking completely; you’re just too far gone to help.
Allow these to crisp up a bit and gently flip them over. They’ll hold together a lot better now, but no need to be too rough with them.
Remember, this salmon is already cooked, so we’re just trying to warm them through whilst giving them a tasty crust.
The mayo gives them just a slight tangy flavor, there’s a nice crunch from the panko crust, and the salmon flavor comes through nicely. Feel free to jazz this up any way you’d like: a hit of lemon juice, some tartar sauce, ketchup, whatever.
Next up: pork burger.