we’ve been talking about resolutions lately, it seems only fitting to start off talking about asian salmon burgers by telling you that a few years back, i declared _____ the year of the fish (this story would be so much more compelling if i remembered what year it was. 2013?? it either was or was not 2013.).
prior to that, i wasn’t much of a fish eater. which is to say i *never* ate fish. maaaaaybe canned tuna once every 15 years. oh! and sliced raw tuna steak in a salad, once. because that’s obviously a thing a non-fish eater would be excited to try.
but the thing was, i liked it. and i started to wonder if maybe i might possibly could like fish? maybe maybe? definitely not seafood – that stuff is still totally blacklisted. but maybe fish fish.
so, january of 2013 (or some other year…) rolls around and i decide to declare the year of the fish. which is to say, a year in which i give fish – and myself – a chance and see what i might like, if i tried it.
naturally, i dive in with salmon. because if you’re going to try fish, salmon is obviously the best place to start. (non-fish eaters who are aspiring-maybe-fish eaters please note: this is totally a lie. for reals, start with a mild, white fish, like tilapia slathered in a yummy sauce.)
i did have a reason for this zero to sixty approach though. yes, i thought that maybe i might like fish, but i already know that i like cookies. fish, unlike cookies, sadly, is generally healthy*, though, which was a large part of why i wanted to try to start eating it more often (read: ever). so if it was the health benefits that i was after, salmon seemed like the way to go, since it gets a lot of publicity for being healthy (and if the internet says something, it must be true, right?).
so, ready, set, salmon! i found a few recipes that has lots of strong flavors (spice! wasabi! ginger!) and tried them out. aaaaaaand i liked them? i mean, i liked them, period. success!
somewhat (un?)surprisingly, if you pack a bunch of flavorful yummies into something that’s not nearly as bad as you feared, it’s actually pretty good (how’s that for a sales pitch for these asian salmon burgers?). applying that principle here, we have ginger, garlic, sriracha, cilantro, scallions, and an optional swipe of wasabi. there’s basically no way this could turn out anything short of delicious (unless you don’t like spicy food, don’t care for ginger, think cilantro tastes like soap, or can’t handle wasabi, in which case, may i interest you in a risotto?).
so if you like salmon, or might like fish when it tastes like spicy ginger cilantro goodness, or have declared 2017 the year of the fish, enjoy! if not, a pasta recipe with none of those ingredients is coming your way next week.
* watch out for high levels of mercury and other bad stuffs. the monterey bay aquarium seafood guide can help you choose fish that aren’t practically extinct or chock-a-block full of lead.
- 1 pound (16 oz. / 454 g.) skinless salmon filets (i use defrosted frozen)
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 3 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
- ¼ cup (3/4 oz. / 22g.) quick cooking oats (gluten free, if that matters for you)
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- wasabi paste, optional for serving
- buns, lettuce, sliced red onion, etc. for serving, if you wish
- preheat a griddler or panini press to 375° F if you have one, otherwise heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat with two teaspoons of oil.
- in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the salmon, soy sauce, sriracha, garlic, ginger, oats, most of the scallions, and most of the cilantro. pulse for 10 – 20 seconds, until it’s all combined (but not to the point that it turns into a totally homogenous salmon paste because ew). add the rest of the scallions and cilantro in and pulse just for a second or two to mix them in without really chopping them up too much.
- being careful to avoid the blade, form the salmon mixture into four evenly sized patties. if you’re using a griddler, they take less than 4 minutes to cook total. if you’re using a skillet, it’s more like 3 – 4 minutes per side. with either method, the goal is for a thermometer to register 140° F. if you don’t have a thermometer, check to make sure the color is consistent all the way through the center. serve immediately, either as is or with bun, lettuce, wasabi paste, etc. leftovers keep a day or two in the refrigerator in an airtight container and heat up better than you might expect in the microwave, or you can crumble the leftover burgers and serve over salad (ooooh, idea! asian style salmon tacos might be pretty tasty – i may need to try that out…).
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