When we were shooting the photos for my last book, Dorie’s Cookies, lunch was a highlight of the day, as each of us took turns cooking. One morning, Claudia Ficca, the food stylist, announced that she’d bought some salmon and had an idea for lunch: salmon burgers. Like everything Claudia does, these are special. They get a supersized helping of zip from lemons, capers, two kinds of mustard, scallions, lots of dill and Greek yogurt, which adds tang and, most important, moisture.
You can serve these juicy burgers on buns — I usually put them between Martin’s Potato Rolls, topping them with slices of tomato and avocado, relish or quick pickled onions — and offer them up with coleslaw, cucumber salad or potato salad. You can also switch up the herbs — parsley or cilantro can stand in for the dill or be mixed with it — and you can swap the capers for chopped pickles.
The blend for the burgers is so packed with flavor that you could even skip the pan-grilling and serve it raw, as tartare. It makes a great starter or, with a green salad and slices of toasted baguette, a main course.
A word on the salmon: My favorite for these burgers is wild Alaskan salmon; sockeye and Chinook are good choices. Because wild salmon is seasonal, I often use frozen fillets.
1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) skinless salmon fillets (see headnote), cut into chunks and patted dry
1/2 cup (120 ml) plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup (42 grams) finely chopped scallions (white and light green parts only)
1/2 cup (20 grams) chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard (preferably French)
1 tablespoon grainy mustard (preferably French)
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed, patted dry and coarsely chopped if large
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
Canola or olive oil, for cooking
6 buns (see headnote)
Toppings (see headnote)
WORKING AHEAD: You can keep the burger mix in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours before cooking.
1. Put the salmon in a food processor and pulse about 6 times, just until it is finely chopped. Stop before you have a paste!
2. Put the yogurt, scallions, dill, both mustards and the capers in a large bowl and stir to blend. Finely grate the zest of the lemon into the bowl. Stir in the salmon — use a flexible spatula and a light touch — and season with the salt. Taste and decide if you’d like more salt or want to squeeze some lemon juice into the mix. Cover the bowl, pressing a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the mix, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (The burger mix can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours.)
3. When you’re ready to make the burgers, divide the salmon into 6 portions and shape each one into a patty. Lightly coat a grill pan or skillet, preferably nonstick, with a small amount of oil or spray and place it over medium-high heat. Cook the burgers in two batches (don’t crowd the pan) for about 2 minutes on each side — you want to crisp the exterior and just warm the insides.
4. Serve immediately, sandwiching the burgers between the buns and topping them with whatever you choose.
STORING: If you have leftover burgers, wrap and refrigerate them for up to 1 day; serve cold on top of a salad or reheat in a microwave.
Recipes excerpted from Everyday Dorie © 2018 by Dorie Greenspan. Photography © 2018 by Ellen Silverman. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
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