Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Salmon Burger Experiment

First and foremost, y'all know I don't cook.  Or at least that I don't cook well.   However, lunch rolled around a few days ago and some factors came together that forced me into it.

1. I'm trying to eat healthier foods.  The pool in our neighborhood opened a couple of weeks ago.  As in, it opened in April, as loony as that is.  Will I be there anytime soon?  No.  But hopefully I'll be able to shed a couple of pounds and convince myself to pull on a bathing suit and splash around at some point this summer.
2. I need to go to the grocery store in a bad way.  My pantry and fridge are pretty bare, so I was forced into creativity, which is usually dangerous.
3. I miss Disney World.

What does Disney World have to do with cooking, you might ask (perhaps not so nicely)?
I'm in the middle of planning for our next trip, and when making all our dining reservations, I perused over all the menus.  One of my favorite things I've ever eaten (ever.) was at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.  The menu at Allears.net describes it as "Akershus Salmon Burger--on a Toasted Onion Roll with Tomatoes, Arugula, and Spicy Red Pepper Coulis."  Mmmmm.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  Norwegian?  I thought this was a southern specialty!

Growing up, we had salmon patties (no silent "l" according to my southern mama--"SALmon," she calls it) quite often.  These concoctions are pretty basic.  Can of salmon.  Corn meal or flour.  Eggs.  Salt.  Pepper.  Fry in oil.  And boy are they tasty!  Now that I'm married to a fish-hater, I rarely get to eat them.  And since I am trying that healthier approach, the fried aspect wasn't going to work.

I went to my pantry for inspiration.  I knew right away that I didn't have all the ingredients for the delicious salmon burger.  Not by a long shot.  So it was time for one of my creations.

Don't say you haven't been warned.

In a bowl, I threw together:

  • 1 can of salmon, drained, broken up with a fork
  • 2 tbs dried minced onions (you could use about a half an onion, but this is lunchtime and I had no time for chopping with a baby on my hip!)
  • 1 whole egg, plus another egg white.  Keeping these things sticking together is key, and eggs are "sticky," to use a technical term...
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (could use a clove)
  • 1/2 tsp dill...because it's fish?  I'm not sure why I threw it in.  I think I read somewhere that dill is good with fish.
  • About 3 good shakes of hot sauce.  This was a nod to Akershus' Red Pepper Coulis, mostly because I have no clue how to make a coulis but know I like a little spice.
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire Sauce.  My husband would be proud.
  • 1 slice of whole wheat bread, crumbled up, to add more stickiness.
  • Just a small shake of Parmesan cheese, since I knew I would not be allowed to melt a big hunk of cheddar on it.
Can you tell we shop at Publix?

Here is probably the most important thing you should remember:  MIX THIS GENTLY WITH YOUR HANDS.  Oh, yes.  It is squishy and wet and gross.  And there is no other way to do it without turning that fish into a paste that won't stick together at all.
Go ahead.  You know you want to squish it.

So, rings off, gently mix it and  lightly roll it into a small ball.  Roll that ball in flour, smash it into a burger shape (it will be smaller than a regular burger), and plop it into a non-stick skillet sprayed with cooking spray.  Fill up the pan with these babies, and after about three minutes, carefully flip them and cook three minutes on the other side.
Those crunchy bits?  The best part.

Inevitably, you will have some breakage.  If you try to make them big, they will all completely fall apart.

I didn't have a potato bun, so I used whole wheat ones.  I took some more Akershus inspiration and laid down a bed of spring greens on my bun.  I didn't have the coulis, so I topped with...wait for it...ketchup.
Fancy!  It said so right on the ketchup bottle.

Now, it was no restaurant quality salmon burger by any means, but it wasn't bad for just haphazardly grabbing ingredients.  I think it needed more crunch.  Maybe next time I'll add chopped celery or bell pepper.  The ketchup was even good on it, I'm embarrassed to say, but if it had a little horseradish mixed with it it would be even better (isn't that cocktail sauce, though?  oh.).  Also, after I took a picture, I added another patty to my burger because it seemed skimpy.  Delish.

Don't take my word for it, though.  This was Julia's plate when she finished.
Probably all I *should* have been eating.

There are tons of salmon burger/patty/cake recipes out there, all very similar, I might add.  I might just try those.  But for now, this mish-mash worked just fine.


  1. Salmon burgers are a fave in our house. I never thought to make them myself though- I love this! Thanks!

  2. And you did this for lunch? with a baby on your hip?! Most impressive!!!