This salmon burger marked my comeback from a week of recovery from jaw surgery. The Copper River salmon was a gift from my generous and thoughtful dad, the arugula was leftover from a weekend lunch that Julian put on for his incoming pediatric residents, the buns emerged from the freezer as if by magic, and my only job was to buy a fresh bell pepper and show up for a bit of cooking.
I love the way salmon plays with ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and chili. The mild, rich salmon can accommodate a ton of aromatic, pungent flavors. A few minutes before you start your food processor, cut the salmon into chunks and season it with a bit of salt, pepper, and lemon. Grind half of the salmon in your food processor to incorporate the aromatics and the condiments. Once those elements are combined, add the other half of the salmon chunks and pulse them until there are still visible bits of whole salmon. set these aside while you assemble your condiments. To check your seasoning, fry a dollop of the salmon mixture in hot oil until fully cooked. Make any adjustments you’d like before you set things aside to rest.
I like to sear the patties in a hot cast-iron pan, deglaze with the pineapple-soy mixture, and finish them in a hot oven. A quick, hot sear will caramelize the outer surface of the patty, and with a dash of the pineapple-soy sauce you can blast them the oven with less chance of overcooking. Keep a cup of the sauce handy in case you need to deglaze your pan while it’s cranking. The liquid will add flavor and buy you time. Your patties should read 145°F/63°C in the center when they come out of the oven.
A bit of mayonnaise with Mae-Ploy chili sauce added a touch of sweetness, and some arugula salad bought the bitter. The rich salmon patties need big flavors to make the whole burger exciting, so don’t be afraid to dig into those condiments and sauces in the dark corners of the refrigerator.
Ginger Lemongrass Salmon Burgers with Pineapple-Soy GlazePrint Recipe
- 1.5 pounds/.68kg salmon, skin removed, deboned, and cut into 1 inch/2.5cm chunks
- Salt, pepper, lemon juice to taste
- 1T sweet soy sauce
- 1T sweet chili sauce
- 1t garlic chili sauce
- .5oz/14g chopped lemongrass
- .25oz/7g minced ginger
- .5oz/14g minced garlic
- 1oz/28g chopped green onion
- 1/2 finely minced yellow or orange sweet pepper
- 8oz/235ml pineapple juice
- 1 oz soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
Combine the salmon, chili sauces, soy sauce, salt, pepper and lemon in a bowl.
Prepare and combine the garlic, lemongrass, ginger, and green onion. Set aside.
Mix half of the salmon mixture in your food processor until finely ground.
Add the remaining salmon and the minced sweet pepper.
Process until just combined.
Mix the pineapple juice, soy sauce, and garlic. Set aside.
Fry a tiny bit of the mixture to test for seasoning and texture. Make adjustments as needed before you form the patties.
Form patties about 1 inch/2.54 cm thick, keeping in mind the size of your buns.
Sear the patties over medium-high heat. Deglaze with pineapple-soy sauce once the patties start to color.
Finish the patties in the oven if needed, until they reach 145°F/63°C in the center.
Serve with sweet-chili mayo, bitter greens dressed with citrus, and buttery toasted buns.