Salmon burgers with lemon-caper yogurt spread and crunchy fennel slaw—An omega-3-packed hand-held that is every bit as meaty and satisfying as it’s cow-based counterparts.This is one of those recipes. One of those recipes that I think about constantly for at least 3 days after I make it—the whole experience taking up permanent residence in my brain because it was that damn delicious.
Food memories are the best memories because they evoke every one of our senses—taste, touch, smell, sight—and can trigger the biochemical release of happy hormones again and again. That’s a pretty cool thing considering we’re talking about a fish patty wedged between a brioche bun right now. Let me start by saying that even though this recipe has three components (fish, spread, and slaw), it’s EXTREMELY simple. And you will want to keep the salmon patty-making-technique in your arsenal forever because it is a fail-proof method that comes out fantastic every time.
The trick is to broil the salmon until it’s medium/medium-rare, flake it off the skin, and mash it up with your other ingredients. The broiling technique results in the ultimate melt-in-your-mouth, buttery texture and helps the patties stick together and stay moist.Refrigerated resting is also key to these burgers’ success. Air-chilling helps dry the patties out slightly so they stick together in the skillet.
You can get a little creative with your salmon patty ingredients since salmon is fatty and can take on pretty aggressive flavors. I like tossing in a big handful of herbs (parsley, dill, chives, etc.), Dijon mustard, and some punchy lemon to lend a bright, robust flavor. In place of standard tartar sauce, we whip up a super-simple lemon-caper spread using lemon (duh), capers (…yep), Greek yogurt (full-fat!), herbs (shocker), and more Dijon. You’ll notice some repetition of the ingredients in the three components because they all work so cohesively together.
And now…. onto the slaw. Guys. Fennel is so underrated. Are you a fan? Please tell you are. If you’re not, can we work on changing that? Starting with this slaw, perhaps?
The snappy crunch and nippy bite of fennel creates the most densely textured slaw that is both vibrant and refreshing. I could eat the slaw on basically any sandwich or burger, but there’s also something about fennel’s licorice-flavor that adds major dimension to a fatty-fish like salmon. These burgers are both weeknight-friendly and perfect for weekend entertaining. Invest in some quality bakery rolls (brioche is king), and they will feel like an indulgent, restaurant-quality hand-held.
And if you have leftover salmon patties, they’re delicious served over a hearty kale salad or with your favorite whole-grain (farro, quinoa, etc.). HAVE MERCY.
- **Salmon burgers**
- 1 lb. boneless, skin-on, center-cut salmon, patted dry
- Cooking spray
- ½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
- ⅓ cup whole-wheat panko
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp. freshly chopped chives
- 2 Tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 4 buns
- **Fennel Slaw**
- 2 cups shaved fennel (from 1 large fennel bulb), plus 2 Tbsp. fennel fronds
- ¼ cup finely chopped scallions
- ¼ red onion, sliced thin
- 2 Tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ½ tsp. sugar
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- **Lemon-Caper Spread**
- ½ cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 Tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
- 1½ tsp. capers
- ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
- Preheat broiler to HIGH.
- Place salmon on a foil-lined baking sheet, skin-down. Lightly coat flesh with cooking spray and season with ¼ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. black pepper. Broil on HIGH for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden and mostly cooked-through. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Use a fork to flake salmon off skin into small pieces (discard skin); transfer to a bowl. Add panko, lemon juice, egg, Dijon, chives, parsley, and remaining ¼ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. black pepper. Use your hands to stir and mash ingredients together until combined. Form into four uniform patties. Place on a parchment-lined plate or baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes.
- Prepare slaw by combining all ingredients in a large bowl; toss to combine.
- Prepare lemon-caper spread by stirring all ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add salmon patties and reduce heat to medium. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, until golden-brown, flip, and cook another 2 to 3 minutes.
- To assemble burgers, spread lemon-caper mixture on the bottom of each of 4 buns. Add one salmon patty and top with fennel slaw.