Burgers: the crown jewel of North American cuisine. That’s all we got? Yes, I was being a little facetious right there, but I have to admit, I really love a good burger. I guess I truly am an American through and through. So it only seems natural, as I have been obsessively posting fish and seafood recipes, that I would post a recipe for salmon burgers. Fish is (are?) my jam.
I don’t know if you’ve ever made your own salmon burgers before, but they are insanely easy. This recipe, is gluten free and just radiates all the health food, hippie vibes. With just 6 ingredients (1. salmon 2. quinoa 3. egg 4. lemon 5. cilantro 6. salt) and 30 minutes to make from start to finish, it’s a weeknight, omega-3 win. Now if you know me, and I hope you stick around a little so we can have a chat and some wine, you will know that I always try to make things a little interesting. You know, add that extra je ne sais quoi to put it French-ly. So to jazz up these salmon burgers I made a light, savoy cabbage and jalapeño slaw, grilled up some pineapple and threw together a smokey sweet aioli. Aioli is also my jam.
How does it taste?
Served together on buttery, fresh baked rolls (or like lettuce wraps or some other healthy coconut, kale, wrappy thing for you people who have will power, unlike me, to stay away from fresh, buttery rolls), these pineapple, slaw, and salmon burgers are the perfect mix of rich and refreshing, spicy and sweet, savory and sour. The burger itself is the kind of thing that when you eat it, you just feel better. The sweet acid from the caramelized pineapple drives the flavor of the burger. Intensifying it. The smokey aioli, made with chipotle, smoked paprika and maple gets behind that acid and brings a moderate heat punch and smokey umami flavor to an overall light and mild burger. And the jalapeño slaw, with some extra pineapple thrown in there, adds a little extra vegetal sweetness and spice.
Making Salmon Burgers
Having a food processor is kind of an important thing for following along the recipes here on POP KITCHEN. I use mine a lot. You may want to go buy one. But you can also just use a knife. Here is a simple break down of how you make the patties.
- Take the skin off your 1 lb salmon filet (it peels of easily but you can also ask your fish monger to do it).
- Throw the salmon in your food processor, but not literally. Pulse 10 times until you have a medium, chunky, ground salmon. If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop up the salmon into bite sizes pieces with a chef knife.
- Place the salmon in a medium size mixing bowl and add cooked quinoa, lemon juice and zest, an egg, cilantro and salt. Mix with your clean hands because they’re about to get dirty anyway. These burgers are going to seem really wet when you make them. You won’t be able to pre-form them into patties like you would with ground beef. You will be shaping them in the pan, kind of like pancakes.
- Heat a cast iron skillet or frying pan on medium heat and add 1-2 tsp of olive or coconut oil. Take around 3/4 -1 cup of the salmon mixture and place it in the pan (I had enough for three patties). Pat it down with your fingers so it spreads into a nice circle and is about an inch thick. Cook until the underside is golden around 4-5 minutes and flip, repeating on the other side.
- PINEAPPLE : You can slice your pineapple whichever way you want. I prefer to cut mine in strips that remind me of those long, flat, and stackable pickles. You can also buy a peeled and cored pineapple and cut it into rings. In your cast iron skillet, over medium low heat, add a small amount of oil. Maybe a teaspoon. Place the pineapple in the pan in a single layer. You want it to cook slowly to become nicely caramelized. It will take 5-8 minutes to reach this state but keep checking on it. Flip over and repeat.
- SAVOY JALAPEÑO SLAW: This is slaw is light , spicy and sweet. You are going to chop your savoy cabbage, red onions, cilantro, pineapple, and jalapeño and toss them together with lemon juice, olive oil, and maple syrup. Season with salt and your golden.
- AIOLI: This aioli gets it’s smokiness from a chipotle hot sauce (my favorite condiment OTM) and smoked paprika (which I douse on pretty much anything but mainly eggs). The sweetness is brought to you by, once again, maple syrup. In a small bowl add said ingredients to mayo, along with some salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
Get ready to dress up those saucy, salmon burgers.
Looking for more fish recipes? You’ll love these fish tacos!
When you try these salmon burgers, let me know! Rate the recipe and share your thoughts and questions in the comments below. Use the hashtag #popkitchen when you post photos of recipes you’ve made to your Instagram and tag @stacyfeyersalo. I’ll share my favorite photos on Pop Kitchen’s account.
- ½ a pineapple, sliced lengthwise or into rings
- 1 tsp of oil for cooking
- ¼ of a small savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup finely diced pineapple
- ½ a jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
- ¼ cup red onion, sliced into thin strips
- ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp pure maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 lb/.45 kg salmon filet, skin removed
- ½ cup cooked quinoa, packed
- 1 egg
- ¼ tsp lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
- ¼ tsp salt or more to taste
- 2 tsp oil for cooking
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp pure maple syrup
- ½ tsp chipotle tabasco (you could also substitute adobo sauce from a can of chipotles)
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- a good pinch of salt and pepper
- Hamburger buns
- Please put on Nite Jewel's album "Liquid Cool". Enjoy some synth-y, light sounds and cavernous vocals that pair perfectly with these burgers.
- If you haven't already, cook your quinoa. To get a ½ cup of quinoa, use ⅓ cup dried quinoa. Rinse the quinoa until the water runs clear (to remove bitterness) and add to a small sauce pan with ⅔ cup of cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil. Cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes.
- PINEAPPLE: In a cast iron skillet or large frying pan, over medium low heat, add a tsp of oil. Add the pineapple and cook low and slow until one side is nice and caramelized, about 6-8 minutes. Flip and repeat. Remove from the pan and keep warm until ready to serve.
- SLAW: While the pineapple is caramelizing, toss together the ingredients for the slaw and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
- BURGERS: In a food processor, pulse the salmon 10 times or until you have what looks like ground salmon (see the image above). Place the salmon in a medium size bowl with the cooked quinoa, egg, zest, lemon juice, cilantro, and salt. Mix together with your hands. It should be wet and not form a ball. It will firm up in the pan while you cook it.
- Heat the pan you used for the pineapple and add 2 teaspoons of oil. Scoop out ¾ cup -1 cup (really just a large handful) of the salmon meat into the pan. Press down with your finger tips to shape the patties into 1 inch thick circles. Cook until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and repeat.
- Serve with pineapple, slaw, and aioli. Would also be good with some arugula, avocado slices or barbecue sauce.