The Mysterious Case of Blended Salmon

salmon burger

I suppose I’ve seen salmon patties in the grocery store before. In fact, I’ve even seen tuna patties. I can’t say they caught my eye in any special or unusual way. Usually, if I’m at the fish counter I’m drooling over the halibut anyway, so the salmon doesn’t really catch my eye no matter what version it’s in. Lemme take that back – the “on sale because we just caught too many and we need to get rid of them and so we’ve moved these over to the shelf, perfectly packaged, with the smoked salmons” versions get at least a double take. But a salmon burger? I mean, c’mon, if I’m going to eat a burger, I don’t want to mess around with the mess-around. You feel me? Call me crazy, but I’d choose a thick juicy beef burger 99 out of 100 times over anything else – veggie, turkey, lamb, salmon, tuna, bean, whatever.

This must have been that 1 out of 100.

salmon in blender

That and the fact that I must admit, I was intrigued by the idea of putting salmon in a blender. Having cilantro and jalapeno on the ingredient list really sealed the deal. I use my food processor (standard and mini) for all sorts of things: vinaigrette, rib marinade, ramp pesto, even pie dough. Until now, I’d never thrown a hunk o’ fish in there. It made me feel sorta mischievious for some reason, as if I were a criminal in a strange novel.

salmon blended

As she dropped the chunks of glowing, vibrant salmon into the processor, she casually turned to her left, and then to her right, seemingly ensuring there was no one watching from afar. And then, without further adieu, the lid was turned and tightly secured and the cord plugged into the outlet, thus sealing the fate of the salmon, a mere pawn at this juncture. With only one brisk, but calculated, press of the “on” button, the thick bright filet of salmon was, in a matter of seconds, pureed and forever transformed into another being: a wonderful paste-like substance, pink-orange in hue. With the addition of a few seasonings and flavorings, it beared a striking resemblance to other burger batters of the past. A smile of satisfaction, and downright excitement, was immediately present on her face. The deed was done, and there was no turning back. This salmon, and all salmon, would never be the same.

salmon patty

As profound a statement the former might be, it’s true. We’ve found a new use for the food processor and a new reason to stock up on hamburger buns. Plus, as all good burgers are better grilled, these are great indoors on the grill rack or outdoors. People, it just doesn’t get any better than that!

grilled salmon burgers

For most recipes, I can usually think of a few changes that, for me, would lead to potential recipe repeats. Repeats in this kitchen are few and far between, because my “try-this” stack is way too big. For this recipe, I’m not sure I’d alter too much. I really like the herbiness of the cilantro with salmon, as it further brightens the taste. The cucumbers are also well-suited for this environment – you need a bit of the crunch texture when you eat a burger, and otherwise there is none here, unless you were to opt for onions or some sort of chip; I think the cucumber is perfect. If you like a little heat, I might just add a whole jalapeno or two and leave some of the seeds.

Cilantro just isn’t your thing but you still wanna process some salmon? Try these:
Asian Salmon Burgers w/ Pickled Cucumber on Pumpernickel
Chipotle Salmon Burgers

But if you try them, you have to let me know. Deal? ok, good.

Salmon-Cilantro Burgers w/ Cilantro Mayo
Adapted from Cooking Light, May 2009; serves 4

1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
3 T fresh cilantro, divided (chop 1 T)
3 T fresh lime juice, divided
salt and pepper
1 (1 lb) salmon fillet, skinned and cut into large chunks
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 T green onions, chopped
2 T jalapeno, seeded and chopped
Cooking spray
4 hamburger buns (I used whole grain), toasted
12 slices English cucumber
4 leaf lettuce leaves

  1. Combine mayo, 1 T chopped cilantro, 1 T lime juice, and a large pinch of salt and pepper into bowl; cover and set aside.
  2. Place salmon in food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped. Add breadcrumbs, remaining cilantro and lime juice, jalapeno, green onions, and about 1/4 t of salt and pepper; pulse 4 times or until well blended. Divide into 4 equal portions, shaping into 3/4-inch-thick patty.
  3. Heat a grill pan over med-hi. Coat with spray. Add patties and cook 2 minutes on each side.
  4. Spread 1 T of mayo onto buns. Add patty. Seal the deal with lettuce and cucumber.

4 thoughts on “The Mysterious Case of Blended Salmon

  1. Lo says:

    Whenever we'd bring back whole salmon from Seattle in the spring, I always had little pieces and parts of the fish that I didn't quite know what to do with… so we always made salmon burgers! SO GOOD.Your version looks great. Love the cilantro, lime, jalapeno combo — and the cucumber caps it off nicely as well! Yum.

  2. Scrumpy says:

    Great post!Now, not to be a downer but… I have really tried to like cilantro. There are so few things that I really don't like. But that cilantro, if there is just the teenist bit in some salsa, it sets me off. My mouth just doesn't understand it!

  3. Heather says:

    Lo – fantastic idea!Scrumpy – I knew there'd be a few cilantro-haters out there! these burgers might be good with dill too – but not much of it! Happy Hot as Hell Day in Chicago!

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