Dad’s Salmon Burger – Madison Eats Food Tours
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Dad’s Salmon Burger

An homage to my dad who had only a few dishes he made and this salmon burger was one of them. My take is to use fresh fish rather than canned salmon, but that works too! I have made this with lake trout, and a combination of Sitka Salmon Shares salmon and Whitefish. Delicious!

June is the month we honor our fathers, often with cards, cookies, kisses or a good ol’ fashioned cookout. My father, who passed away in 2006 on the summer solstice, was an avid gardener. He grew food purely because he could and shared it generously with friends and neighbors. He cooked infrequently, which made it easy for him to hone his signature dish–grilled salmon burgers infused with onions, garlic and herbs from our garden. I put a local spin on the dish by using Wisconsin-raised trout or a combination of salmon and firm white fish, and trade the ubiquitous ketchup topping for a spicy sriracha mayo. I can already hear the murmurs of delight as my family and friends dig in, and we celebrate life.

Recipe: Grilled Fish Burgers

A little over 1 lb Wisconsin trout, or a combination of Sitka Salmon and whitefish, chopped finely (remove and reserve skin if grilling outside*)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
4 tbsp shallots and/or green onions,
finely chopped
1 heaping tbsp mayo
1 1/2 tsp mustard
1 tsp salt/pepper to taste
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp pepper Canola oil for brushing on burgers *You will use the skin for grilling–your fishmonger can help to skin the fish.

You can also mix these ingredients in the FOOD PROCESSOR but be careful not to over process. If you use a food processor, start by making the bread crumbs, and remove them. Then add your onion and garlic and pulse. Add in the fish and rough pulse. Add the crumbs back in, along with the remaining ingredients except the egg and pulse again just to combine. The fish should not be total mush. Gently beat the egg and add in. Pulse everything until combined. BY HAND: Mix chopped trout with other burger ingredients, and let chill in a bowl for at least 30 minutes. Light grill to medium heat (about 350 to 400 degrees). When ready to grill, make patties. Then lay skin, scale side down, on grill, and place patties on top of the skin. If you do not have the trout skin, you can use slices of lemon laid on the grill. Cover grill and cook about 5 minutes. Carefully flip each fish patty and cook on the other side until done, about 5 more minutes. To finish each burger, gently brush with oil and place directly on grill for about 1 minute each side. Serve burgers on fresh buns with greens, sriracha mayo (see recipe below), pickles and extra hot sauce if desired.
Serves 4.

Sriracha Mayo
1/2 cup mayo 1 small clove garlic, minced 1 tsp lemon juice 1-2 tsp sriracha sauce (find it as Asian food stores such as Asian Midway) 1/2 tsp honey or maple syrup. Whisk ingredients together in a bowl. Chill until ready to serve.

Quick Pickled Onions
several thin slices of red onion
lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
Mix these together and let sit about 20 minutes
Originally published in Madison Magazine