Market Matters: A Salmon Burger Swan Song

sockeye salmon filletThere were a lot of burgers on my plate this week. This is day 6…

We did a fairly classic Backyard B‑B-Que with a bit of flair: a Horseradish Buffalo Burger. It seemed a good (fairly familiar) place to start my week long tribute to burgers.

That was followed up with a veggie option in the form of a meaty Portobello Mushroom Burger and all the fixin’s.

We took a world tour with Mini Lamb Burgers with Mango Salsa, and a Vietnamese influenced Lettuce-Wrapped Pork Burger.

My brother Sip! Got in on the action by sending me his recipe for a “Wine & Cheese” Burger that he paired with a great Australian red wine.

So today I want to mix it up yet again, with a Salmon Burger with Capers & Fried Lemon Slices.

salmon burger with fried lemon slicesThere were quite a few reasons I wanted to make a salmon burger. One of them, of course was how easily salmon pairs with other flavors. Making it a great choice for a burger.

But the other is, at least on the west coast; wild salmon is at its peak right now. The Hollywood Farmers Market has beautiful wild sockeye salmon. Because it is in season it is not all that expensive, and it’s truly spectacular.

So I have chosen Canadian wild caught sockeye salmon to be this weeks Market Matters post. And I am giving this burger the honor of closing out burger week at SippitySup. Ahhhh… that’s right. It’s over. Sad but true. Just how many more burgers can you expect me to eat?

This is the first burger we have done where you will need to grind the ground salmon for burgersmeat.

It is a very simple process if you have a food processor.

The key to getting a nice texture to this burger lies in grinding the meat in 2 stages so I will start there.

Start by cutting all the (skinless) salmon into 1‑inch chunks. Then divide the fish in half. Add half of the cut salmon to the bowl of a food processor, along with the mustard. Turn the machine on, and process the fish, scraping down the sides once or twice as needed, until the mixture becomes pureed and paste like.

The purpose of this pasty fish mixture is to act as a binder. This way you can leave the rest of the fish fairly coarsely chopped. When it gets cooked the coarser fish will stay a bit more rare and moist, but the “burger” will bind together.

Once you have a pasty mixture that seems like a good consistency to act as this binder add the remaining salmon, as well as the diced onions. Pulse the machine in quick on and off bursts until the fish is coarsely chopped and well combined with the puree. Try and get each chunk of coarse fish to be about 1/4 inch. Be careful not to chop the mixture to finely because you will get a dense burger that will easily overcook.

The process of preparing and grinding the fish was adapted from Mark Bittman and he says that “the two-step grinding process means that those flavorings that you want minced fine, like garlic or ginger, can go in with the first batch of salmon; those that should be left coarse, like onion or fresh herbs, can go in with the rest.”

Scrape the fish mixture into a bowl and using a wooden spoon, mix in the breadcrumbs, thyme, chopped capers with some salt and pepper.

Shape the mixture into four equal sized burgers. They should be refrigerated at least an hour and up to 24 hours.

Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and oil. Once the butter has melted, add the lemon slices and cook the a few minutes. Then add the burger to the same pan with the lemon slices and brown them 2–3 minutes on each side. When the lemon slices get soft and slightly browned on both sides remove them to a paper towel lined plate.

The finely chopped binder in the burgers will cook through holding the coarser (less cooked) pieces in suspension making for a very nice texture.

According to Mark Bittman: “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.”

salmon burger with lemon and capersServe the burgers on a soft hamburger bun, with a lettuce leaf, a few of the fried lemon slices and a dash (or two) of the hot sauce.

Salmon Burgers with Capers & Fried Lemon Slices Click Here For Full Recipe.


  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless salmon
  • 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced to 1/4 inch chunks
  • 1‑cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoon capers, drained and roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1‑tablespoon butter
  • 1‑tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lemon cut into very thin rounds
  • 4 hamburger buns, tops and bottoms
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • Hot sauce


Greg Henry