A salmon burger and a little black dress

I love burgers but usually default to my favorite Jamie Oliver beef burger recipe when we’re grilling outside.  A non-beef eating friend came over on Memorial day so I had an excuse to try out a couple of recipes so she wouldn’t feel left out.  I settled on one from Gwyneth’s new book but, as always, I couldn’t resist tinkering with the recipe.  The result was delicious and will be a regular dinner and lunch in our house from now on.  The leftover, cooked burgers made a great base for salads for lunch the following day and my children loved them broken into noodles with some grated veggies for their dinner too.

This is a pretty virtuous recipe too, perfect for clean-eating summertime or when you are looking to shed a few pounds.

I love it when I know a recipe has legs outside of the original, this is going to be added to my ‘little black dress’ file of recipes – ones where the same basic recipe and technique can be used with a variety of swap-ins (accessories) to get different results.  I urge you to start thinking about recipes in this way too as it really opens up your options and allows you to get creative.  My next plan is to try different flavors to make an Italian style (swap the ginger, coriander, soy and lime for basil, sea salt and lemon zest) and an Indian spiced (swap the soy for a teaspoon of garam masala) burger.

Ingredients (makes 4 burgers)

Active prep time – 10 minutes plus 1 hour chilling

Cooking time – 10 minutes

450g (1 lb) wild salmon fillet, skinless and boneless.  Frozen and 90% defrosted is perfect

3 spring onions (green onions)

A handful of coriander (cilantro) leaves and stalks, around 10 stems.

1 inch of fresh ginger, finely grated (I keep my ginger in the freezer and grate it from frozen with my coarse Microplane)

2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce

zest of a lime

a pinch of red chili pepper flakes

To make

1.  If your salmon is fully defrosted, place it in the freezer for 15 minutes until it is very cold but not frozen.  This will help it chop rather than purée when you mix it.  Don’t be tempted to skip this stage as it really does make a big difference to the finished texture of your burger.  If you have frozen salmon, just defrost it 90% through rather than freezing it.

2.  Put all the other ingredients (except the salmon) in a food processor and blitz until the herbs are finely chopped, a few bits are fine. It might help to roughly chop your onion and herbs first so they don’t get caught in the blades.

3.  Cut the salmon into roughly 2 inch cubes then add it to the food processor on top of the other aromatics. Then pulse for about 10 seconds before scraping the sides down and pulsing again until the salmon is chopped but not pureed.

4.  Remove the mixture from the food processor and form into 4 balls before squishing into 1 inch high burgers.  At this stage the texture looks a bit odd, gelatinous really.  Don’t worry, that is what you want. Put the burgers in the fridge for at least an hour or even overnight.  This firms them up and also allows the flavors to develop.

5.  Cook them in a frying pan with a little oil or on oiled tin foil on top of a barbecue for 5 minutes each side.  I served mine on top of a lime and fish sauce-dressed shredded veggie slaw with a little Vegenese (or mayo) and Sriracha on top.  Or stuff  the burger, slaw and mayo into a whole grain toasted burger bun, maybe with a little picked ginger on top of the burger.

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One thought on “A salmon burger and a little black dress

  1. Pingback: Some ideas for Christmas and holiday party food | yousaytomatocooking's blog

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