Salmon Burger with Capers and Fried Lemon Slices
- 1 ½ pound skinless boneless salmon
- 3 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 onion (peeled and diced to ¼ inch chunks)
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoon capers (drained and roughly chopped)
- unknown salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 lemon (cut into very thin rounds)
- 4 burger buns (sliced crosswise)
- 4 lettuce leaves
- hot sauce (to taste)
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 ¼ 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 lines 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.”
Serve 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.