Salmon Burgers with Garden Greens and Pesto
I just love being inspired by the tastes and flavors of each season, and nothing has been inspiring me more lately than all of these beautiful greens growing in my garden. After a period of rain, followed by warm, humid, sunny days, my herbs have finally been experiencing vigorous growth. With the bounty this week, I decided to make a multi-herb pesto. Instead of serving it over a pasta, as most would expect, I thought the floral and anise (licorice) like flavors in the basil, dill, tarragon, and parsley would be a perfect complement to salmon burgers.
Besides being able to get all of my herbs and some produce for each night’s meal just steps from my kitchen, growing a garden has been a great learning experience for our son. Caleb helped his Dad build our raised garden beds and plant seeds, and now he gets to see the fruits of his labor. Not only does he have a greater appreciation for where our food comes from and how we use it in meals, but he has an interest in creating recipes with me, then, of course, devouring our yummy creations.
While I didn’t have much success with spinach and arugula this season (I think from all the rain we’ve had) my lettuce has been very bountiful and was ready to harvest. Another inspiration for salmon burgers – a few slices of tender, buttery lettuce leaves sitting on top of a soft roll gives a salmon burger structure without taking away from the fish’s delicate flavor.
Doesn’t that lettuce look so pretty? Compare it to the stringy spinach and arugula, to the left and right, respectively that prematurely bolted and is sadly inedible. Trial and errors of gardening in the rainy south…
I gathered up all of that green goodness and headed inside. First I made the pesto. Traditionally, pesto is made with basil, but what fun is keeping this summer sauce to just one herb! As I mentioned, basil, dill, tarragon, and parsley all have complementary flavors. The slightly sweet licoricey bite and floral notes from these herbs blend beautifully in a raw sauce like pesto. Into the food processor they all went!
Next, I assembled the salmon burgers. This post over on Serious Eats has an excellent commentary and step-by-step photos on how to prepare salmon for perfect burgers. As you can see, I don’t chop the salmon quite as fine as suggested, but it’s a great guide if you’re feeling squeamish on working with fresh fish.
I threw in a handful of finely chopped herbs (reserved from my pesto harvest) and seasoned simply with pepper, sea salt, and a squirt of lemon juice. Instead of using eggs and/or bread crumbs as a binder, a simple dollop of mayonnaise (or plain whole-milk Greek yogurt) and Dijon mustard helped keep the patties together while adding a velvety consistency to the mixture.
Platter up some fresh-from-the-farm toppings and you’ve got the freshest, healthiest, prettiest burgers on the block! Layer a roll with a few tender, buttery lettuce leaves, refreshing cucumber slices, comforting eggs, and a slather of that herbaceous pesto, then savor each bite!
- 1 lb salmon, skinned and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp. Dill, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp. Parsley, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. Tarragon, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. Basil, finely chopped
- Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
- Salt and Pepper, to taste (We used 1/2 tsp. each)
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1-2 Tbsp. butter
- Lettuce Leaves (Choose a tender and buttery leaf such as Bibb)
- English cucumbers, thinly sliced
- Hard-boiled eggs, sliced
- Pesto (Preferably homemade, from the same combination of herbs used in the burgers)
- Good quality whole wheat and/or hamburger rolls
- Skin and chop the salmon. This post over on Serious Eats has an excellent commentary (and step-by-step photos) on how to prepare salmon for perfect burgers. I don’t chop the salmon quite as fine as suggested but it’s a great guide if you’re feeling squeamish on working with fresh fish. Add chopped salmon to large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together mayo or yogurt and Dijon mustard. Add to salmon.
- Add remaining ingredients to the mixture – minced herbs, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.
- Divide mixture into 4 parts to make 4 equal patties.
- Pour flour into shallow bowl. Place each patty in the flour, evenly coating exterior on both sides.
- Add butter to large skillet, set on medium-high heat. Saute patties in butter, about 5-6 minutes. Flip and saute, about 5 more minutes, adjusting heat if necessary to prevent crusts from burning.
- Remove patties from heat.
- Serve on fresh, soft roll. Top with buttery lettuce, sliced cucumbers, egg, and a drizzle of pesto.