In one day the temperature rose 10 degrees and just like that, it's summer. Time to heat up the grill and break out the swimsuits! Are you excited? The first meal I'm cooking up is this smoky cilantro salmon burger. Don't get me wrong, I love a classic hamburger but nowadays, I'm having a hard time resisting a hearty seafood version. This salmon burger delivers on all notes with the spices, avocado cream, crispy onions, and buttery brioche. Now who can say no to that?
Smoky Cilantro Salmon Burger
- 1 lb salmon
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 2 shallots minced
- 1 tbsp Greek yogurt plain
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp oregano
- 1 tsp garlic minced
- juice of ½ lime
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp liquid smoke
- 1 avocado
- ½ cup Greek yogurt plain
- juice of ½ lime
- salt and pepper
- 1 sweet onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- oil for frying
- 4 brioche buns
- 8 leaves butter lettuce
- ½ cup crumbled feta
- Prepare the salmon patties. Cut the salmon into bite-size pieces and pulse in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Alternatively, chop the salmon by hand. Combine the salmon with the remaining ingredients (chopped cilantro - liquid smoke). Let the salmon mixture sit for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the avocado crema. Blend together the avocado with yogurt and juice of ½ lime. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Make the crispy onions. Combine the thinly sliced onion with buttermilk and let it sit for 10 minutes. Preheat frying oil to 375 degrees F.
- Season the flour with salt and dredge the onions in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Carefully drop the onion into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and drain the excess oil on paper towels. Season the onions with salt.
- Shape the salmon into 4 patties. Cook the salmon either in the oven, on the grill, or in a saute pan until golden brown on both sides.
- Assemble the burgers. Top the bottom brioche bun with 2 butter lettuce leaves, the salmon patty, avocado crema, crumbled feta, and a pile of crispy onions. Top with the remaining bun and serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
In my experience, salmon burgers tend to shy away from spices. But if you know anything about my cooking, I like to load on the flavor. Here enters this smoky cilantro salmon burger. The salmon is seasoned with a good amount of spices and combined with aromatics to compliment the fish.
Chop up the seafood either by hand or with a food processor. Just make sure that with a food processor you don't overmix the salmon. Just like with beef, if you overwork the salmon, it will yield dry burgers.
I realize the yogurt might be an odd ingredient to add but it actually helps keep the salmon moist. Meanwhile, the liquid smoke helps add a bit of smokiness to the patties. You can omit the liquid smoke especially if you grill the patties.
While the patties are marinating, prepare the toppings including the avocado crema and crispy onions. Blend up the avocado with yogurt and lime juice and season it with salt and pepper.
For the onions, thinly slice them about 1/16 inch thick. Here is when a mandoline comes in handy. Soak the onions in buttermilk for 10 minutes, then dredge them in oil and shake off the excess. Fry the onions until golden brown and crispy, moving them around in the oil while they fry to get even coloring. Drain the excess oil on paper towels and give it a final seasoning.
Now back to the burgers. Shape the salmon into four patties and cook them however you want. If you cook them on the grill, preheat the grill to medium heat and cook until lightly charred. For the oven, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and cook for about 10 minutes. You can also use the broiler for the same amount of time or cook them in the saute pan. Be careful not to overcook the salmon because it will get dry if you do.
Now, pile on those toppings and dig into your masterpiece! This smoky cilantro salmon burger was everything I wanted. You get the smoky and ultra flavorful salmon, the crispy onions, the creamy avocado spread, and the salty feta. What more could you want?
For more seafood sandwich inspiration, check out this Nashville fried fish sandwich!