Salmon burgers get a double-hit of Armanino Pesto Sauce, both blended into the patties and spread over them at the end. Choose a rich brioche or potato bun for extra decadence.
1 ½ lbs boneless skinless Atlantic salmon, cubed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 teaspoons lemon zest
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Armanino Pesto Sauce
2 scallions, finely chopped
6 tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs
Sauce and Toppings
6 tablespoons Armanino Pesto Sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
2 large tomatoes, sliced ¼” thick
½ red onion, thinly sliced
4 butter lettuce leaves
4 brioche or potato bread hamburger buns, lightly toasted
In a food processor, add all the burger ingredients except the breadcrumbs – cubed salmon, scallions, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon zest and juice and 2 tablespoons pesto – and pulse until mixture just comes together, about 6 two-second pulses. Do not over-process or the finished burgers will tough and dry; the mixture should look minced rather than a paste.
Turn the mixture into a bowl and stir in the breadcrumbs.
Cut four 5”x5” squares of parchment paper, wax paper or aluminum foil.
Divide the salmon mixture into four equal portions and form into ¾” thick burgers. Place on a parchment square and then on a plate. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. The mixture will be on the loose side, chilling will help to firm up the patties.
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and ¼ cup pesto for a pesto aioli. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Can be made up to 3 days ahead.
Meanwhile, preheat a grill to medium-high; at least 5 minutes for a gas grill. For a charcoal grill, heat the charcoal to very hot with an ash coating, then push the coals to one side of the grill. When the grill is ready – you should be able to hold your hand one inch above the grill grates for only a second – lightly rub the clean grill grate with an oil soaked paper towel using a pair of tongs.
Grill the buns cut side down until lightly toasted and set aside until needed.
Reduce the grill heat to medium and place the burgers on the grill, salmon side down peeling off the parchment (if charcoal, place on the cooler side).
Cover and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Do not move during cooking. The burgers are ready to turn when the burger releases easily, you see grill marks and a thin layer of opaque/cooked salmon on the grilled side.
Carefully, with a metal spatula, turn the burgers, close the lid and cook for another 2-4 minutes. The burgers should be just opaque throughout when done. Do not overcook or the burgers will be dry. Remove from the grill.
On the bottom toasted buns, add lettuce, tomato, red onion, the salmon burgers, a spoonful of the pesto aioli and top with bun. Serve immediately.
When cooking salmon, you might see foamy white bits on the cooked fish. Known as albumin, it’s a protein that exists in the fish in liquid form when it’s raw, but coagulates and becomes semi-solid when subjected to heat. The more aggressively you cook your salmon, the more albumin will appear on its surface as the higher the heat, the more quickly the flesh contracts, and the more albumin becomes visible. While perfectly natural it’s not always attractive so to avoid this, use a lower temperature and don’t overcook.
Don’t care for salmon? Try shrimp or any firm white fish.