Whether you don’t eat red meat or are simply looking to mix up your burger game, these juicy, flavor-packed salmon burgers are a great alternative to the typical beef variety. To make sure the salmon patties don’t get tough or dry out on the grill, I like to use the fattiest type of salmon I can find, like Chinook (aka King) salmon. The higher the fat content of the fish, the more tender and rich the burger will be. But if you can’t get your hands on Chinook salmon, Atlantic salmon also works well.
I don’t have a meat grinder at home, so I like to use a food processor to grind up the salmon fillet (it gets the job done nicely). Just make sure to dice the salmon before lightly pulsing it in the food processor, being careful not to pulse it into a paste. Don’t have a food processor? No problem; you can always finely chop the salmon by hand as well. In addition to the salmon, the secret to this burger’s flavor is the furikake, a savory Japanese rice seasoning. My favorite blend is the roasted sesame seed and seaweed, which complements the toasty sesame seeds in the Sesame Seeded Sandwich Buns from Arnold®, Brownberry®, and Oroweat®. Don’t forget the grilled scallion pesto, either—it takes a little bit of extra time to prepare, but it’s oh-so worth it.
Test Kitchen Notes
- Prep time 25 minutes
- Cook time 55 minutes
- makes 4 burgers
- For the salmon burgers:
shallot, sliced (about 2 ounces)
(24-ounce) boneless, skinless salmon fillet, diced
furikake (roasted sesame seed and seaweed)
freshly ground black pepper
Salted butter, melted (for brushing the buns and burgers))
Arnold®, Brownberry®, or Oroweat® Sesame Seeded Sandwich Buns
green leaf lettuce
medium red tomatoes, sliced
Grilled scallion pesto, for serving (see below)
- For the grilled scallion pesto:
olive oil, divided
whole bulb garlic
1 1/4 teaspoons
freshly ground black pepper, divided
fresh scallions (about 9 ounces)
apple cider vinegar
pine nuts, toasted
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Start the pesto: Cut the tops off the whole garlic bulb and place on top of a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle the top of the garlic with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper. Wrap the garlic in the foil and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until soft and golden-brown. Once the garlic has cooled down, squeeze the garlic out by pressing on the bottom of the garlic bulb. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, prepare the salmon patties: In a food processor, pulse the shallots until minced (there should be no big slices). Add in the salmon and lightly pulse until chunky; make sure not to over-pulse the mixture so that it becomes a paste. Place the salmon mixture in a medium bowl and mix in the breadcrumbs, furikake seasoning, mirin, salt, and pepper. Form into 4 (6-ounce) patties about 4 inches in diameter and about ¾-inch thick. Place in the fridge until you’re ready to grill them up.
- Preheat a grill or grill pan over high heat.
- Prepare the pesto: Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the scallions and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper. Grill the scallions on high heat for 5 minutes, flipping halfway through. The scallions should be lightly charred and aromatic. Set aside to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Once the scallions are cooled, slice them into 2-inch pieces and place in the food processor along with the roasted garlic, apple cider vinegar, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, 2 tablespoons olive oil, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Blend until smooth, about 3 minutes; it should look like a thick paste and small chunks of scallion should be visible.
- Lightly brush both sides of the buns and patties with the melted butter. Grill the buns for 2 minutes, until golden-brown. Meanwhile, grill the salmon burgers for 5 minutes or until cooked through, flipping halfway through.
- Assemble the salmon burgers: Place the lettuce on the bottom bun, then top with the salmon patty and sliced tomatoes. Spread some of the grilled scallion pesto on the top bun and place on top of the tomatoes. Serve warm, and enjoy.