Salmon Burgers with Easy Remoulade Sauce and Watercress

When July arrives, cooks everywhere know that it’s prime time for burger cooking. My husband, a devoted fan of any type of ground meat or fish patty cooked over an open fire, refers to this season as “burger heaven!”

Although I prepare my share of classic ground beef rounds and top them with grilled onions and good melting cheeses, I also love to try new creations like the delicious salmon burgers featured here.

Created by my friend and talented chef, Matt Sunderland, these burgers are especially light in taste since they are prepared with fresh salmon fillets that are roasted quickly, then flaked, and combined with sautéed vegetables and fresh lime juice. A simple, tangy remoulade sauce of mayonnaise and Dijon mustard is a fine spread for these Neptunian burgers.Thinly sliced cucumber strips scented with a hint of vinegar and some fresh watercress round out the garnishes.

These burgers, which take a little extra time to make and assemble, can be prepared a day ahead. I feel that they are so unusual and boast such an interesting combo of flavors and textures that they merit a little extra effort. I hope you do too!

3 to 4 tablespoons canola oil, plus extra for baking sheet and grill
1 pound salmon fillet
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely chopped leeks, white and light green parts only
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
3/4 cup panko crumbs or dry unflavored whole-wheat bread crumbs
1/3 cup mayonnaise (See note.)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons lime zest
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large egg, beaten lightly

Remoulade Sauce
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

6 white or whole-wheat hamburger buns
1 bunch watercress, cleaned and tough bottom stems discarded
One cucumber, peeled, thinly shaved or sliced, then tossed with 2 to 3 teaspoons white wine or balsamic vinegar

1. Center a rack and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a foil-lined baking sheet lightly with oil. Place salmon, flesh side up, on sheet and brush top and sides with 1 or more tablespoons oil; season generously with salt and pepper. Bake until flesh flakes easily and is opaque, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove, cool, and discard skin and any dark flesh. Then flake fish and place in a large bowl.

2. In a large skillet set over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil until hot. Add leeks, celery, and bell pepper, and sauté until softened and translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Cool slightly. Add mixture to bowl with salmon and toss to combine.

3. Add panko or bread crumbs, mayonnaise, parsley, mustard, lime zest and juice, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, cayenne pepper, and egg to salmon mixture, and stir gently to combine. Shape mixture into 6 patties, about 4 inches in diameter. Place on a large plate, and refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes or longer. (Burgers can be prepared 1 day ahead; keep covered and chilled.)

4.. For remoulade sauce, whisk together mayonnaise and mustard in a medium bowl.
(Sauce can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

5. Oil a grill rack generously, and arrange 5 inches from heat source. Prepare grill, and when hot, add salmon burgers and grill until hot, only 2 to 3 minutes per side.

6.Place salmon burgers on bottoms of buns, spread generously with remoulade sauce, top with several sprigs of watercress, and some cucumbers. Cover with tops of buns. Serves 6.

Note: Hellman’s light mayonnaise works well in this recipe.

© Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2012

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