Today is #National Burger Day. You didn’t know? Well nor did I, till I spotted it trending on Twitter. Never one to knowingly dodge a hashtag, I thought I’d better join the herd. I’ve written on the joys of a juicy beef-burger before; lately I’ve transferred my allegiance to the oh-so-succulent salmon burger.
Sounds like fishcakes? Well not exactly. The salmon – raw, not cooked – is diced very small, mixed with finely chopped sweet red pepper, onions and herbs (dill, mostly), bound together by a couple of egg whites and some fresh breadcrumbs (rather than gummed up with mashed potato) and formed into burgers.
They quite stole the show in the menu we cooked up together at my recent mums-and-daughters summer workshop (love cooking with youngsters, especially this lot who turned out to be seriously into their food and willing to try most things). Also participating were a mum-and-son team (aka Sophie and Marc, my daughter and grandson respectively). Marc took such a shine to them we had them for lunch and for dinner, several days running. Some leftovers even accompanied us on a picnic in the Black Forest. Only breakfast was a salmon burger-free zone (Lachsburgerfreizone?).
After such a sustained onslaught, things went a bit quiet. Time is a great healer and with a little distance I’ve now recovered my appetite for them and can write about them with renewed enthusiasm (probably even eat one or two…next week). Try them for a fresh, fishy alternative to the beefy richness of the traditional ones.
Do all the prep work ahead of time, shape the mixture into burgers and store in the fridge till you’re ready to fry them – assuming the salmon is super-fresh (and yours will be), they’ll keep for a day or two.
Makes 8-10 burgers
700g skinless, boneless salmon
½ a red pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
Several sprigs of dill, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 egg whites
4 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 slices wholewheat bread
1 avocado, cut in 8 wedges
Mayonnaise, tomato salsa, salad leaves, dill flowers
- Cut the salmon in tiny dice about the size of your little fingernail and place in a mixing bowl.
- Add the chopped red pepper, spring onions, herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix in the egg whites, breadcrumbs and mayonnaise and beat vigorously with a big wooden spoon or fork to bind it all together.
- Shape the mixture into 8 burgers and place them on a plate. If you have time, chill them to firm them up.
- Heat the oil in a big frying pan till it shimmers and fry the burgers till golden, turning once – about 3 minutes on each side. You may need to do this in 2 batches.
- To serve, squash the avocado into the bread slices, add a squirt of mayonnaise, tomato and dill salsa and salad leaves and top with the burgers.
- Garnish with dill flowers (if you have some) and serve salad on the side.
A cheeky little summer salsa of tomatoes (cherry tomatoes are sweeter and have more flavour than big watery ones), lemon juice or white Balsamic vinegar, olive oil and loads of dill (or use basil if you prefer). Serve at room temperature with fish, white meats or pasta.
2-3 medium tomatoes or 250g cherry tomatoes
1-2 scallions (spring onions)
Juice of ½ a lemon or 1 tablespoon white Balsamic vinegar
6 coriander seeds, smashed
6 tablespoons olive oil
A small packet of dill, finely chopped
Salt, freshly ground black pepper, a little sugar
- If using regular (not cherry) tomatoes, place in a pan of boiling water, leave for a minute or two. Fish them out, remove cores and skins, cut in half and squeeze out the seeds. (No need to peel cherry tomatoes.)
- Quarter the scallion(s), place in a food processor and process till finely chopped. Add the peeled, seeded tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes), lemon juice or white Balsamic, crushed coriander seeds and olive oil and process till smoothly mixed.
- Stir in the dill and season with salt, pepper and a little sugar if the tomatoes are rather sharp.