Sometimes, I think I was Scandinavian in a previous life (minus the blonde locks and endless legs). While I am unaware of any trace of Nordic blood in my family, should you sit on any piece of furniture in our house, or dine on any of my crockery, you would think I had inherited everything from my Viking grandmother. Plus, I adore Scandinavian food. Fresh fish, whole grains, pronounced seasons, exquisite baked goods and of course, rye bread. As a nod to my unrivaled love of all things Scandi, here is my recipe for salmon burgers. Light, bursting with flavour, moist, and so easy to throw together. They are as comforting as any juicy beef burger without that over-stuffed-impossible-to-digest feeling at the end.
Loved by those of all ages, these burgers are just as good at room temperature (read: leftovers), and you can accessorise them with multiple toppings for that total comfort food effect. I promise, you will never feel like you are eating the pescetarian option at a BBQ.
Thanks to Diana Henry’s book, A Change of Appetite, I now add a small amount of creme fraiche to the mixture. This keeps them incredibly moist, and adds a wonderful “tang”. But you can leave it out if you prefer to make them dairy free. This recipe is very adaptable and can be used as a base. Feel free to swap the spring onions for sauteed shallots/white onion, or use coriander and chili for a more Asian feel. And of course, capers would be great too (but personally I prefer them in the sauce).
We often eat them in pita bread. I am fully aware that this totally digresses from traditional Scandi fare. However, I prefer pita for the simple reason that you can stuff your perfect little pocket to the hilt without losing any of the extra “accoutrements”.
But they also taste excellent between two slices of rye bread, or on their own with a lovely salad. (I sometimes serve them like this as part of a lunch/brunch selection)
So, please, whizz up a batch, and let me know your favourite way to eat them.
Salmon Burgers with a Dill Sauce
Makes 6 burgers
750g (1lb 10oz) salmon, skinned (I buy the tails for this as it is much cheaper)
4 spring onions (scallions) roughly chopped
1/2 small bunch dill (approx 5 sprigs)
1/2 small bunch parsley (approx 5 sprigs)
1 large egg
1 1/2 tbsp creme fraiche s
alt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil / groundnut oil
1 tbsp capers (rinsed and drained)
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp chopped chives
1 tbsp chopped dill
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 clove of garlic, crushed
120g (approx 1/2 cup ) Greek yoghurt
60g (approx 1/4 cup) creme fraiche)
salt and pepper
drizzle of olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice (1/2 lemon depending on size)
Cube salmon into large dice.
Place spring onions and herbs into the bowl of a food processor fitted with blade attachment and chop. Add cubed salmon and pulse until finely chopped. You want to pulse it so that the mixture does not turn to mush - it should still have some texture.
You can of course do all of the above by hand instead of using a food processor if you don’t have one to hand.
Tip mixture into a mixing bowl and add egg, creme fraiche, salt and pepper and mix. I find it best to use my hands so that you do not break it up too much.
The mixture will be very wet. Don’t panic! Place mixture into the fridge and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes (and upto 8 hours in advance).
In the meantime, make the sauce:
Chop capers and add to a bowl with mustard, chopped dill and chives, lemon zest and crushed garlic.
Stir through Greek yoghurt and creme fraiche and season with salt and pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon juice.
Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and leave in fridge until ready to use.
When you are almost ready to cook the burgers, wet hands, and form mixture into 6 patties. Return to the fridge for another 30 minutes or so.
Put a large frying pan or griddle over medium heat and drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil. Allow oil to heat up but not until smoking.
Add patties to pan. Depending on the size of your pan you may need to do this in batches.
They should take about 3 minutes each side depending on thickness. Do not move them around too much. Serve with sauce dolloped on top.