Salmon Burgers with Apricot Relish
And “Quadruple-M Sauce”
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I think a lot of food bloggers avoid posting burger recipes, and I think I know why. The patty itself is a bit of a trick – everyone has their own favourite burger recipe (which will be defended vociferously), and at the end of the day they don’t tend to vary that wildly anyway. When you do find a good article about burger patties, it tends to be one of those ultra-comprehensive ones that looks at everything from fat content to meat choice to the pros and cons of different binders. But there’s a second reason that burger recipes tend to get a little bit less love, and it has to do with HOW we tend to make burgers at home. The average bbq burger is a very DIY sort of experience, with diners choosing their own toppings and sides based on personal preference. You might end up with a fully-loaded 3-sauce 2-tomato extra-pickles burger, but the person next to you might opt for ketchup alone. This means that we tend not to place burgers in that category of complete meals that require a recipe.
I decided to tackle both of those issues head on with his burger. As for the patty, I think it’s safe to say that this is not a standard burger. Obviously it’s made from fish (delicious, incredible, wild-caught sockeye salmon no less), but I’ve also taken the rather unusual step of putting apricots IN the burger itself. That’s right – the relish isn’t the only place I snuck fruit into this. It might sound like an odd step, but apricots in the burger add a great sweet-tart hit along with fantastic texture and moisture, two things that are frequently a little lacking in a fish burger. But more importantly, I didn’t just envision this as a good fish patty – this is a burger, crafted from top-to-bottom. Of course you can still do whatever you want with this recipe (the patty alone genuinely is worth making), but this is a burger by design. In a sense, it’s really three recipes mashed together – the patty, the relish, and the sauce. Each part could be used on its own elsewhere, but they go so well together. I mean, really, REALLY well. Superlatives are kind of failing me here, so I’ll just fall back on what my wife said: “Best salmon burger EVER.”
So the patty is incredible, the apricot relish is that great mix of tangy and sweet mixed with that great red onion taste (which is mellowed very nicely the longer the relish sits and mixes), and there’s that Quadruple-M sauce. You know how burger places mix two ingredients together and call it a special sauce? Well this is FOUR ingredients, ergo it’s at least twice as good. You can trust me on that, I’ve taught High School math before. Seriously though, the tangy, savoury, slightly-sweet sauce has become my new favorite go-to sauce for burgers. I’m hoping to make it my ticket to fame. Time to start designing a label and selling the stuff in jars.
We’re talking burgers here, so there’s nothing too revolutionary going on in terms of technique. While many salmon burgers use canned cooked salmon, I’ve elected to go with a fresh fillet here. If you were so inclined, I think you could probably make this work quite nicely with a firm white fish as well (halibut and black cod come to mind). You do have two options in terms of putting the patties together. If you like a flakier, more ‘fish-like’ texture, you can minimally process the patty mixture, leaving bigger pieces of onion, apricot, and salmon. If, on the other hand, you want to achieve a texture closer to ground beef or chicken, simply leave your food processor running until the mixture is a uniform paste. If you don’t have a food processor, you can still make this meal: finely chop all of the ingredients and mix by hand.
The toppings are as easy as can be. The apricot relish simply needs to be chopped, combined, and set aside. It will taste great after only 10 or 15 minutes, but if you do have time to leave it longer, I suggest letting it set for an hour or more to really blend the flavours and mellow the onions. The Quadruple-M sauce is so good that it TASTES like it should be complicated, but it’s not. Mustard, mayo, molasses, and maple syrup. Mix it (Quintuple-M?), and you’re good to go.
No ingredient pages have been written yet for any of the ingredients in this recipe. Like to see one? Let me know in the comments below or by email.
No pantry pages have been written yet for any of the ingredients in this recipe. Like to see one? Let me know in the comments below or by email.
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- 525 g salmon fillet (skin and pin-bones removed)
- 1.25 cups panko (see note below)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 medium apricots (about 150 g before pitting) pitted
- 1/4 medium red onion
- 4 medium apricots (about 225 g before pitting)
- 1/2 medium red onion (about 100 g)
- 1 large celery stalk (about 100 g)
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- pinch salt
- pinch black pepper
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp molasses
- 8 brioche buns
In a food processor, combine the salmon fillet, panko, egg, salt, apricots, and red onion. Pulse repeatedly until the ingredients are thoroughly combined. You can stop at a somewhat coarse, flaky stage or you can keep going until the mixture forms a paste. The former yields a patty with larger, more textural pieces, while the latter yields a smoother and more uniform patty.
Form the mixture into patties and set aside. (Note: A little bit of oil on your hands will prevent them from sticking to the patties)
Preheat a heavy-bottomed skillet, grill, or griddle over medium-high heat. Add a little oil to the grill or brush over the patties. If you like, you can sprinkle a little extra panko over the patties at this point for some added crunch. Cook the patties until browned and cooked through; about 3-4 minutes per side. Check for doneness and set aside.
Simply dice the apricots, onions, and celery and combine with the remaining ingredients. Set aside for at least 15 minutes, and up to overnight.
Combine the ingredients for the Quadruple-M sauce and set aside (any extra can be refrigerated for at least one week).
Spread a dollop of Quadruple-M sauce on one side of a bun, then top with tomato, lettuce, salmon, and apricot relish. Grab some napkins and eat.
The burgers themselves use 1.25 cups of panko, but I like to keep a little extra (about 1/4 cup or so) to sprinkle over the surface of the patties right before cooking in order to add a little crunch. This is optional of course, but it's a nice touch.