Sunday, December 23, 2018

Mini Salmon Burgers

I love all kinds of cookbooks. I love technical ones with very specific ingredient lists and complicated, precise instructions. I also love ones that are straightforward and give you the simplest path to creating dishes. And, lately I’ve found I really love cookbooks that tell you how the author really cooks at home. That glimpse into how cooking decisions are made differently from one day to the next and how recipes get changed depending on the season or what’s in the refrigerator gives you options and ideas for your approach to each dish. The latest from Dorie Greenspan, Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook, is in this category, and I received a review copy. Throughout the book, the head notes tell you how the recipe idea originated, various versions that she’s made over the years, and ideas for substitutions or tweaks. The chapters cover starters through dessert as well as basics. I got a little distracted in the Soup chapter and wanted to make everything. There’s a Potato Chowder Lots of Ways that offers several great options for every time of year. Then, there’s Clam Chowder My Way that’s made with lemongrass, ginger, and coconut milk. I also want to try the Morrocan-Spiced Chickpea and Noodle Soup and the Bean and Tortilla Soup. The Chicken chapter has Sweet Chili Chicken Thighs, Chicken-Chili Tamale Pie, and Roast Chicken with Pan-Sauce Vinaigrette among others. The Sweet and Smoky Carrots look delicious and are made with a spice syrup that combines cider vinegar, smoked paprika, cumin, and cayenne. And, there are suggestions for more ways to use this syrup like mixed into mayonnaise for slaw or as a vinaigrette with kale or arugula. Of course, all the desserts look amazing, and I keep stopping to look again at the Tangerine-Topped Cheesecake. But, don’t stop reading there. Do read all the way through the Basics and Transformers chapter. There’s a Chocolate Crunch recipe in that last chapter that’s suggested as a topping for the Dark Chocolate Pudding dessert. This would also be fantastic as a crumble topping on lots of other things, and why had I never thought to make a chocolate crumb topping when crumb toppings are on my list of favorite things? To start cooking from this book, I tried the Salmon Burgers because adding yogurt to keep the mixture from becoming dry sounded like such a good idea. I made the burgers as minis and thought they would be great as party food. 

Skinless salmon was pulsed in the food processor while yogurt, minced green onion, parsley and cilantro in my case, Dijon mustard, grainy mustard, and capers were mixed to combine. Lemon zest was grated into the mixture before stirring in the salmon and seasoning with salt. I also squeezed in some lemon juice. The mixture was refrigerated for a bit before proceeding. Then, I made it into mini burgers that were cooked in oil in a skillet. They only need a couple of minutes on each side. I served them on little, toasted challah buns with arugula and avocado. I had some Meyer lemons on hand and remembered a lemon salsa from the The AOC Cookbook by Suzanne Goin and used that as an additional topping.

The flavors from the lemon, mustards, and herbs was so good in the salmon burgers, but the texture made them incredible. I will now always add yogurt to salmon burgers. The mini size was fun too, but these would have been just as good in a bigger size. I’ll be cooking more from this book during the holidays, and I’ll be re-reading all the tips and options for lots of inspiration. I hope you’re having a fantastic holiday season! 

Salmon Burgers 
Excerpted from Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook © 2018 by Dorie Greenspan. Photography © 2018 by Ellen Silverman. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. 

Makes 6 burgers 

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 even Quick Pickled Onions (page 320) — and offer them up with coleslaw, cucumber salad or my favorite go-along, Basta Pasta 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 
1 lemon 
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.

I am a member of the Amazon Affiliate Program. 


  1. I have the book too, and a pretty long list of recipes bookmarked as "must try" - I agree, great book.

    One recipe I might make before this year is over: Slow-cooker Brisket with Carrots and Sweet Potatoes...

  2. forgot to wish you Happy Holidays, Lisa!

  3. Looks delicious Lisa ! Merry Christmas !!

  4. They look super tempting! Happy Holidays, Lisa!

  5. I’m so glad you’re liking my new book and love that you made the salmon burgers into minis - it’s a great idea!

    1. Thank you, Dorie! And, thanks for creating another great cookbook.

  6. I've been going slow on adding to my cookbook collection, but a new Dorie might be a must have!

  7. Love the sound of these deliciously season salmon burgers.

  8. Wow, a post comment directly from Dorie, herself- I'm impressed!I can't imagine that any cookbook authors would respond to any of my posts! My husband loves sliders so this recipe would be right up his alley! Happy New Year to you!

  9. what perfect patties! are you and dorie bffs? :)


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