Salmon Burgers with Yogurt-Dill Sauce

I stumbled upon this recipe when Toby and I went up to Everett to celebrate his mom’s birthday. We were just going to enjoy something simple, like pizza or burgers, I was told.

Imagine my surprise to discover a newspaper clipping on Norm’s counter when I padded into the kitchen for a root beer. It was a recipe for salmon burgers, and it was being used so Toby’s sister Jessie could join in the feast. She’s vegetarian.

Salmon Burger recipe
The recipe.

Jessie doesn’t like critter flesh, but I suppose fish are OK because they’re not fuzzy, cute critters. (I discovered this class of vegetarian is “pesce-vegetarian” which apparently irks “real” vegetarians, as evidenced by these passionate forum responses. Additionally, I have a title too. I am apparently a Vegetarian Sympathizer.)

I asked Norm why he pulled a recipe from the paper, especially because vegetarian cookbooks are every freaking where, especially, it seems, in the Northwest (Unless these veggies shun pesce-vegetarians too).

“It just caught my eye,” he said. He said other quote-worthy material, but as I’ve long run out of reporter’s notebooks since leaving the profession and had no paper on me, I don’t feel qualified to quote him properly.

(A brief note, and then I promise I’ll be done with parenthetical comments. In searching for a link for reporter’s notebook, I discovered that A. Lot. of people think it’s witty to name their blogs “Reporter’s Notebook” or the more plurally-minded “Reporters’ Notebook” like it gives them street cred or something. It doesn’t. But then again, that’s coming from the girl without enough street cred to even own an empty reporter’s notebook.)

Anyway, here’s the cook:

Norm cooking salmon
Norm Keseric, chopping salmon like a pro.

Perhaps the most disturbing part of the whole “It’s vegetarian, but kind of not” debacle is the fact that the salmon isn’t deboned. Hopefully the bones are pulverized enough, I guess. Jessie did a pretty spot-on impression of what salmon bones might sound like while being crushed.

Jessie and the burger
Jessie, eating this week’s creation.

Anyway, to omnivores such as myself, the salmon burger was decent. The recipe doesn’t call for tomato, and Norm tried to stay true to its instructions, but I guess the burger needed the extra oomph the tomato provided. If you want to try it yourself, here’s how:

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 13, 2008.

Salmon Burgers with Yogurt-Dill Sauce

1 pound skinless salmon fillet, finely diced (see note)
1 tablespoon prepared white horseradish
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons plain, dried bread crumbs
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup plain, low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, split and toasted
Romaine lettuce, for serving

1. Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat.

2. In a medium bowl, combine salmon, horseradish, lemon zest and juice, egg, scallions, bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; mix gently with a fork.

3. Form salmon mixture into four 3 1/2-by-1-inch patties; place on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil without turning until browned on top and opaque throughout, 6 to 7 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, combine yogurt and dill in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Serve burgers on buns with yogurt-dill sauce and lettuce.

Note: To finely dice salmon without crushing it, start by thinly slicing the fillet with a sharp knife. Cut the slices lengthwise into strips, then crosswise.

Jessie’s Salmon Burgers. Lovely work, Norm!

Notes and modifications:
• I already mentioned the benefits of the tomato addition.
• Be careful not to let the patty burn. Charred salmon doesn’t have quite the same appeal as the smoky taste of a regular burger.
• I learned this was kind of a cheating recipe (guilty again, Seattle P-I!) because it wasn’t originally from the newspaper. It’s from a Martha Stewart publication. Bah.
• This can be a pricey meal to make because you need to increase the amount of salmon. The recipe calls for a pound of salmon, but Norm pointed out that salmon’s weighed with the skin, which isn’t used in the meal.


Published in: on January 20, 2008 at 2:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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