I enjoy all kinds of burgers and that’s certainly been reflected in this column. Over the years I offered numerous recipes for them, with recent ones including pork souvlaki burgers, portobello mushroom burgers and double-decker cheeseburgers.
I’m continuing that tasty burger trend today, cooking up one that combines the appealing tastes of B.C. sockeye salmon and lingcod. To make them, I finely chopped some fresh, boneless, skinless fillets of both types of fish, seasoned them, mixed in binders, egg, mayonnaise and breadcrumbs, and then formed the mixture into patties.
The patties were then grilled and set in buns, with tartare sauce, arugula (or salad greens) and ripe tomato slices. For a summer meal, you could serve these flavourful chopped salmon and cod burgers with corn on the cob, coleslaw and lemonade or ice-cold beer.
Chopped Salmon and Cod Burgers
Hand-chopped, fresh fillets of sockeye salmon and lingcod, seasoned and formed into patties, grilled and set in buns with complementary ingredients.
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: eight minutes
Makes: five servings
For the tartare sauce
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp sweet green relish
1 Tbsp capers, finely chopped
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard, or to taste
• lemon juice, hot pepper sauce and salt, to taste
For the patties and to serve
340 grams boneless, sockeye salmon fillets, skinned removed and patted dry (see Note)
340 grams boneless, lingcod or other cod fillets, patted dry (see Eric’s options)
1 large egg
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, dill or tarragon
1/4 tsp garlic powder
• splashes Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp snipped chives or minced green onions
1/3 cup dried fine breadcrumbs, plus more if needed
• salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• vegetable oil spray or vegetable oil, for grill
5 hamburger buns, split and warmed (see Note)
• arugula or baby salad greens, to taste
5 to 10 ripe tomato slices, to taste
Make tartare sauce by combining its ingredient in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set salmon on a large cutting board and cut into small cubes. Now use a large sharp knife to chop the salmon into small pieces (it should look like coarsely ground meat). Transfer chopped salmon to a mixing bowl. Cubed and chop the cod as you did the salmon, and then set in the bowl with it.
Beat egg in a second small bowl, and then mix in the 2 Tbsp mayonnaise, 1 tsp lemon zest, 2 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp chopped parsley (or dill or tarragon), garlic powder, Tabasco, Worcestershire and chives (or green onions). Add this mixture and the breadcrumbs to the chopped fish, season with salt and pepper, and mix well to combine. Grab a small handful of the fish mixture, press it together and check and see if it holds together well. If it doesn’t, mix in 1 Tbsp or so more breadcrumbs.
Divide, press and form fish mixture into five, 3/4- to 1-inch thick patties and set them on the baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate patties until ready to cook. They can be made many hours before needed.
To make the burgers, turn your barbecue or indoor grill to medium-high heat. When it’s hot, oil the grill well. Grill the fish patties about four minutes per side, or until entirely cooked through.
Spread bottom hamburger buns with tartare sauce. Set some arugula (or salad greens) and tomatoes on each bottom bun, and then top with a fish patty and bit more tartare sauce and arugula (or salad greens). Set on top buns and serve.
Note: If you’re not sure how to remove the skin on the salmon, buy the fish at a seafood store and ask the fishmonger to do it for you. You can warm the buns by setting them, cut-side-down, on the grill a minute or so while the fish patties are cooking.
Eric’s options: Other fish fillets, such as halibut, could replace the cod. If you don’t have a barbecue or indoor grill, you could fry the fish patties in hot oil, over medium, medium-high heat, in two large skillets, for a similar amount of time.
Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.