Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Salmon Burgers

Salmon. It's probably THE most cliche fish on the dinner table. I won't get into the ins and outs of wild vs. farm raised salmon, there are many reputable sites that you can look up the pros and cons, but I choose to go wild. It has a bad rap being that it's generally much more expensive than farmed, but in the summer, Costco carries freshly packed (family-sized, obviously) wild salmon (according to the OU, salmon with skin doesn't need a hechsher, as it is discernible that it is in fact salmon and not another [non-Kosher] fish. That's a whole other conversation). ANYWAYS, when Costco has it, I stock up. Trader Joe's also carries frozen Alaskan Sockeye as well as Coho (which is what I prefer) at only 7.99-9.99 a pound (it's about $20 a pound at the local Kosher supermarkets). That is the most convenient because they usually pack them 2 fillets to a pack, or 1 large one, so I don't have to waste or separate once it's defrosted.

Yes, we all make the typical roasted or broiled salmon with some type of dressing up (previous posts: Coconut Crusted Salmon & Mashed Potato Topped Salmon) but this time I made salmon burgers (we called them croquettes growing up- sounds fancy!). My mom made them all the time for dinner because they're easy & delicious, and are also essentially a blank canvas for any flavor profile you want to achieve. You can bake or fry them, I've baked them before but they take much longer in the oven so this time I decided to pan-fry them. You can take the extra step and flake a freshly roasted salmon filet, but the canned salmon is just fine. I used a 14 oz. can of Gefen Wild Salmon from Pesach that wasn't used, and just like tuna, Costco sells a pack of the small wild salmon cans. I was watching Ina Garten make her salmon burgers (she used fresh salmon of course), so I used some of her ideas (adding sauteed vegetables) and doctored up my moms original recipe. So here it is! By the way, this recipe would also work for ground turkey or chicken. My turkey burger recipe is very similar.

Salmon Burgers
-1 14 oz. can of salmon (I ended up with 5 burgers)
-Vegetables for saute (can use anything you want): 1 onion, 2 small carrots, & 1 stalk celery, half a zucchini, all finely chopped
-1/4 cup light mayonnaise
-2 tbsp. dijon
-1 egg
-salt & pepper, garlic powder
-Zest of whole lemon
-Juice of half lemon
-Tbsp each freshly chopped parsley, dill, and basil
-1/2 - 3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs (unseasoned) or Cornflake crumbs for gluten-free
-1-2 tbsp. chopped capers
-Extra Panko for breading

-In a large saute pan, heat a bit of olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onions for a few minutes, and when slightly golden, add the rest of the vegis. Season with salt and pepper. Let saute until browned and softened. Transfer to a bowl to let cool. Add in the chopped capers, and herbs. Mix just to combine.
-Open the canned salmon and drain out the excess liquid. Add to a bowl. Sometimes the spine with little pin-bones are graciously included, so carefully try and remove as much as possible. It isn't dangerous to eat the little bones as they are super fragile, but obviously it's best if you can get them all out.
-Add in the mayo, dijon, the slightly beaten egg, lemon zest/juice and the Panko. You can add more Panko, or another egg if you don't feel like the burgers are tight enough. You don't want them too dry though. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
-When the vegetables are semi-cool, add them in and mix everything together with your hands (it's the best way to incorporate everything, I usually use gloves).
-Before forming patties, add some Panko to a plate, and prepare a plastic cutting board to keep the burgers on before frying them. Form even patties (good tip ala Rachael Ray: smooth out the mixture in the bowl and score out even portions with your finger), dredge one (or both) sides in the Panko, and place on the cutting board. You can also choose to make them into mini sliders.
-If you want to bake them, do so on a greased cookie sheet (or a baking rack atop a cookie sheet- my favorite method for all-around even cooking) & bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. If using Panko for dredging, spray the top with Pam.
-Freeze the burgers on the cookie sheet just for 10 minutes or so until they set (or you can refrigerate, they just need to set up or they'll completely fall apart when you pan fry)
-Heat a thin layer of canola oil in a large saute pan over medium-high, and once hot, add the burgers (Panko side down if only dredging one side). Don't move them, let them saute for a good 5-6 minutes or until golden brown and set, then flip and cook on the other side.

-I served mine on toasted whole wheat sesame buns with homemade tartar sauce (mayo, chopped capers, chopped dill and parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice) with kale chips & yukon gold mashed potatoes (I made this dinner on Thursday night so I made extra mashed potatoes to have for Friday night- double duty!)

 Try something new with salmon, you won't regret it!

P.S. I'm not one to freeze a lot, but these did freeze well (cooked)!

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