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News / Life / Food

Salmon burgers for Father’s Day

Burgers from ground Coho have mild, delicate flavor

By Gretchen McKay, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Published: June 12, 2024, 6:10am

Rightly or wrongly, men are expected to be meat lovers. So it tracks that on Father’s Day, steak or burgers often end up the protein of choice on a celebratory menu.

It doesn’t have to be so.

My dad always favored a good piece of fish, especially salmon, which is both low-calorie and full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. My husband is a huge fan of the pink-fleshed fish, too. I don’t cook it as much he’d like because to me, well, salmon is the cilantro of the fish world — you either love it or hate it and I’m a flaky, white, doesn’t-taste-like-fish kind of girl.

But if you grind it up and mix salmon with other ingredients and mold it into a patty? That’s a win for the plus-ones among us who are trying to be good sports on Father’s Day.

These burgers are crafted with ground Coho salmon from The Alaska Wild Salmon Co., which has a milder and more delicate flavor than a sockeye salmon steak due to a lower fat content. Brightened with a little Dijon mustard, sweet onion and salty capers, the burgers are fried in butter, which makes then super tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.

I served them on a bed of greens with a fresh, farmers’ market summer salad of chopped zucchini, cucumber, tomato and bell pepper tossed in a lemon vinaigrette.

Salmon burgers

Serves 4. Adapted from The New York Times

For burgers:

1 pound ground coho salmon

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 sweet onion, finely minced, peeled and cut into chunks

1/2 cup coarse bread crumbs

1 tablespoon capers, drained

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

For salad:

1 medium red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped

1 small zucchini, chopped

1 small cucumber, chopped

2 scallions, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Pinch of sugar

Juice 1/2 lemon

Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Lemon wedges, for serving

Salad greens, for plate

Place ground salmon in a large bowl. Add mustard, onion, bread crumbs, capers, ginger, a generous pinch of salt and good grind of black pepper. Gently mix until well combined, then shape into four burgers. (You can cover and refrigerate the burgers for a few hours at this point.)

Prepare salad: Combine pepper, tomato, zucchini, cucumber and scallions in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, sugar and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside while you cook fish.

Place the butter or oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. When the butter foam subsides or the oil is hot, cook the burgers for 2-3 minutes a side, turning once.

Alternatively, you can grill them: Let them firm up on the first side, grilling about 4 minutes, before turning over and finishing for just another minute or two. To check for doneness, make a small cut and peek inside. Be careful not to overcook.

Serve on a bed of greens with vegetable salad, with lemon wedges. If you prefer a true burger, serve salmon patties on a bun.