Some foods just bring back memories of childhood. I am very fortunate that the memories I have of those times are warm and happy ones. Every night, my parents and me and my two brothers sat around our red kitchen table and had dinner together. One of the things that my mother made every week was salmon croquettes. It’s not something you would think kids would have liked necessarily, but oddly my brothers and I loved them. At least I think they did. I’ll have to ask them.
Anyway, I’ll take a salmon burger over a beef burger any day. Hamburgers are so 29 seconds ago. These aquatic burgers are filled with so many different ingredients they just exude flavor. I love to pair it with the fresh dill sauce which is the perfect creamy and lemony partner for the fish. Then you top the burger with the peppery arugula, and a toasted bun for crunch, and I promise you, you’ll never look at a beef burger again.
Adapted From Food Network
- 1 1/4 pounds fresh salmon filet
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons panko crumbs, plus extra to coat patties
- salt & pepper to taste
- sandwich buns
- fresh arugula
- Pulse 1/4 pound salmon in a food processor with 2 tablespoons dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Transfer this mixture to a medium bowl and mix with 1 pound of salmon that has been finely diced. You want it to be a little chunky so you can really taste the salmon. Add in 2 chopped scallions, 2 tablespoons of panko crumbs, and salt and pepper to taste.
- I used a cookie cutter about the same size as my bun and pressed the mixture into the cutter to create uniform sized patties. Pressing the mixture into the cutter also helps it keep it’s shape. Place on an oiled cookie sheet and chill for at least 30 minutes. You want the patties good and chilled so they will retain their shape. Heat canola oil in a cast iron skillet on medium-high. Cook the patties about 3-4 minutes on each side. You want them to cook through, but be careful they don’t burn. Don’t let the oil get too hot.
- Drain the patties on a paper towel.
- Toast buns, top pattie with dill sauce and fresh arugula.
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
- fresh, ground pepper to taste
To make this sandwich even more perfect, butter a griddle and toast your buns til golden on the edges. It gives this sandwich a lovely added crunch.
If you have a cast iron skillet, use it instead of a regular frying pan. Fill you pan with the oil about 1/4 inch deep and don’t place the patties in the pan until the oil is hot. Cast iron skillets retain heat and evenly distribute the heat better than the standard frying pan.. Your patties will also get a nice crust on them. That’s a good thing.
To clean your skillet, use a washcloth and rinse with hot water and immediately dry the skillet. Never, ever put one in a dishwasher. Season your pan by rubbing with a paper bowl and a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Gently heat the pan to help the oil soak in. (From Bon Appetit).
It’s funny how things evolve in your life. I cringe a little when I think back to the days when I was single. When I was 25, I moved by myself from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. I quickly got an apartment and a job as a secretary in Century City. Food was not even on my radar. I would grab a sandwich on my lunch break, and then on my way back home to the valley, I would stop at McDonald’s for a hamburger and fries. I never cooked, and there was never any food in my refrigerator. And then I met Neil.
This guy loved food. Every meal was an adventure with him. He liked to go out to nice restaurants, he loved to entertain guests, and he could cook. I mean he could really, really cook. So, over the past twenty-five years, he’s taught me everything he knows about food, and that’s a lot. But where he really shines is behind the barbecue. It’s funny, but when we get invited to people’s houses for a barbecue they’ll ask Neil to do the cooking. He makes a killer grilled salmon with herb butter that he cooks on a cedar plank. By cooking on the plank the fish will retain its moisture and the plank imparts a delicious, smokey flavor. If you’ve never cooked on a cedar plank before then I insist you give it a try.
I have purchased my cedar planks from Williams Sonoma, and also from Home Depot. You can also check online, they are not hard to find.
Cedar Planked Salmon with Herb Butter
1 cedar plank
1 salmon filet (I always buy from Costco)
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
herb butter (recipe to follow)
1. Soak your plank, weighted down in the sink or a dish filled with water, fruit juice, or wine for 4 hours. This will keep the plank from burning. I soaked my plank in salted water. Before cooking, dry off plank and brush cooking side with oil to prevent fish from sticking.
2. Heat your grill to medium.
3 Wash, and pat dry salmon filet. I removed the skin.
4. Season fish with salt and pepper and dot the surface with the herb butter.
5. Place fish on the plank, and cook on grill with the lid closed for about 30 minutes until the salmon flakes easily with a fork.
1/2 cup softened butter
1 teaspoon each of finely mined basil, thyme and parsley
In a small bowl mix all ingredients together until combined