Juicy and flavorful, Salmon Burgers with Cucumber-Mustard Sauce is not your typical dry and flavorless patty. With or without the bun, these burgers are the ultimate indulgent experience with this healthy and delicious fish. Using fresh dill and tarragon, it is the perfect way to feature your summer herbs in a way that will convince even the hardest seafood critic.
Not Your Tasteless, Dry Salmon Burger
I had never had a salmon burger before I tried this recipe, which I adapted from Myra Kornfeld’s The Healthy Hedonist cookbook. Salmon has always been my preferred fish and this is one of my favorite ways to fix it. In fact, people who are not often a fan of seafood have actually crossed over from the dark side after trying this burger.
Since salmon burgers were a regular on our menu board, I figured that all salmon burgers were pretty similar in texture and flavor. I ordered a package of salmon burgers from a seafood supply company just to have a few high-protein lunches on hand. Was I wrong! When you start out with perfection, there is no settling. Ultimately, I fed them to the dog for his dinner and resorted to saving my salmon burger cravings for home cooking.
The Cucumber-Mustard Sauce
Truly, I believe that sauces are the spice of life. A sauce can take what is ordinary, and make it extraordinary. This sauce is no exception. Not only is it beautiful and such a compliment to the pink salmon, but the flavor is out of this world. Chunks of cucumber, sliced shallot, fresh dill, champagne vinegar, olive oil, and of course Dijon mustard, meld together to make the perfect compliment to the salmon. Feel free to add the addition of minced preserved lemon to the mix for a salty/tart flavor treat. Truly, I create recipes for the purpose of using my preserved lemons. They are my favorite condiment and they taste amazing with the fresh fish.
Preparing the Salmon Burgers
Just one look at the pictures below and you will know you are not in for a dry, tasteless salmon patty. With fresh tarragon, dill, shallot, salt, and pepper, you have the recipe for salmon burger perfection. I purchase salmon fillets with the skin on and then remove the flesh from the skin in chunks with my hands. I save the skins for my very happy dog, Watson. There is no need to use a food processor or knife because you want your burgers to be in definitive chunks; to see all those beautiful ingredients formed together in rounded perfection on a bun. As a tip, I use a wide-mouth Ball jar lid to press and form the patties so they stick together nicely when cooked.
Adding the Benefits of Herbs
Additionally, many people may be familiar with dill, but not so many with tarragon. I grow tarragon in my herb garden specifically for this recipe because the flavor is absolutely divine mingled with the dill and shallot. Don’t skimp on this herb. If you have never tried it, you are in for a treat. Tarragon has a distinct licorice, anise, or fennel flavor that is pungent and bittersweet in taste.
Herbs are such a wonderful addition to your recipes as they are loaded with powerful antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Surprisingly, both tarragon and dill are said to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke as well as have the potential to lower your blood sugar, decrease inflammation or pain, improve sleep, and balance your appetite. But we all know I have to stress the fact that I am not a doctor saying this but a mom who is studying herbs and believes in the healing benefits of food.
The Recipe for Salmon Burgers with Cucumber-Mustard Sauce
- For the Burgers:
- 2 lbs fresh salmon fillets (skinned)
- 3 T chopped fresh tarragon
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
- 3 shallots, minced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- For the Cucumber-Mustard Sauce
- 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
- 2-3 shallots, minced (about 2 T)
- 1/4 rind of minced preserved lemon (optional but amazing)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
- 1 T champagne vinegar (red or white wine vinegar would be fine too)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced into cubes
- 3 T coconut oil or avocado oil for sautéing
- 6 hamburger buns (I prefer brioche buns)
- To prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, shallots, preserved lemon, dill, vinegar, olive oil, preserved lemon (if using), and cucumbers. Set aside.
- To prepare the burgers: Tear the salmon by hand into bite-sized chunks. Place in a bowl and stir in the chopped, fresh herbs, shallots, and salt, and pepper.
- Using a wide mouth Ball jar ring (the size of a hamburger), form the salmon into 6 patties.
- Heat coconut or avocado oil in a large skillet and saute patties about 3 minutes per side or until cooked through with a little pink in the middle. DO NOT overcook these.
- Serve with or without the bun slathered in the cucumber-mustard sauce.
This recipe has been adapted from Myra Kornfeld's cookbook, The Healthy Hedonist (one of my favorites!)
Sourcing Your Seafood
Alia from the blog Everyday Easy Eats did a great post on The 7 Best Wild-Caught Seafood Delivery Services if you are interested in checking out the best places to purchase sustainable seafood online. Personally, I purchase my seafood from either Vital Choice Seafood Company or Wild for Salmon which are both trusted sources of premium wild-caught fish and seafood from healthy, well-managed fisheries around the world.
Occasionally, you can find wild-caught seafood at Costco in the freezer section but you never truly know the source of their “wild-caught” fish. Surprisingly, Walmart has a section dedicated to sustainable seafood in their frozen case. Look for these logos on the packaging of the frozen or tinned fish that ensure you are making a sustainable choice:
If you really want to geek out on it, you can download the Seafood Watch app developed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium which helps consumers like you and me make better seafood choices. You can also watch this short presentation on why farmed salmon is one of the most poisonous foods ever. Now that I got that off my chest… let’s get cook’n.