Salmon burgers are very Alaska. You can find variations of them in restaurants and homes statewide. They are at the top of the list of my favorite ways to enjoy and serve local sockeye salmon, a real crowd pleaser to make for guests. Even fish-averse kiddos tend to enjoy salmon when it comes in burger form. I admit I may even enjoy a good salmon burger more than a traditional hamburger. Gasp.
While a great many salmon burger recipes call for leftover salmon that’s already been cooked and flaked, mixed with bread crumbs as a binder, I prefer to make my burgers with raw cubed salmon and panko. This method produces a beautiful, moist patty that really lets the salmon stand out. Once you’ve got this method down, you can play with different toppings. They are fantastic with classic burger fixin’s like red onion, tomato, and lettuce with a garlicky lemon mayonnaise or homemade tartar sauce. Or, in this version, I evoked the flavors of sushi—ginger, sesame, Sriracha, avocado, and wasabi. As with a salmon fillet, salmon burgers are enjoyed best medium-rare to medium in the center.
- Yield: 4
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- half of lime juice
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups finely shredded red cabbage
- 0.33 cup cilantro, chopped
- 0.33 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon wasabi paste (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 2 pounds wild sockeye salmon, pin bones and skin removed, cubed
- ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
- 0.33 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 egg whites
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- half of lime juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 4 hamburger buns, toasted
- 1 ripe avocado, sliced
To make the sesame slaw
- In a mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, sesame oil, Sriracha, sugar, lime juice, sesame seeds, and salt. Whisk vigorously to thoroughly combine and dissolve sugar. Add the cabbage and cilantro and toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the burgers. I do not recommend making this more than an hour ahead, as the cabbage will begin to wilt and lose its crunch. To make the wasabi mayo
- In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, wasabi, and soy sauce until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. To make the salmon burgers
- In a mixing bowl, combine the salmon, panko, green onions, ginger, garlic, egg whites, soy sauce, lime juice, and salt. Fold together until well combined. On a large cutting board, shape the mixture into 4 evenly sized round patties.
- Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl the pan with the avocado oil. When the oil is hot, carefully transfer 2 salmon burgers to the pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until seared and browned on the bottom. Turn and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until seared on the other side. Remove the burgers from the heat and repeat with the remaining patties.
- Place the toasted burger buns on serving plates. Place a salmon burger on each bottom bun. Using a slotted spoon, top each burger with a generous heap of sesame slaw. Top the slaw with avocado slices. Smear each top bun liberally with wasabi mayo and place them on top of the burgers. Serve promptly.