A great alternate burger: Salmon Burger

A burger is a burger. Or is it? Here is a great alternative burger made with salmon. Salmon burgers don’t always hold up on a grill so what I like to do is use my grill initially as a stove. I place a cast iron skillet on the grill, get it good and hot, and then give the salmon burgers a quick sear before moving them directly to the grill. Here’s what I do:


1 ½ pounds skinless, boneless salmon
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 shallots, peeled and cut into chunks
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon capers, drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil


Cut the salmon into large chunks and put about a quarter of it into the container of a food processor, along with the mustard. Process until the mixture becomes pasty, scraping the sides down as necessary.

Add the shallots and the remaining salmon, and pulse the machine until the fish is chopped and combined with the puree. No piece should be larger than a quarter inch or so; be careful not make the mixture too fine.

Transfer the salmon into a bowl, and stir in the bread crumbs, Dijon mustard, capers, and some salt and pepper. Shape into four burgers.

Place the butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet and place directly on a grill heated to high heat. Place the patties in the skillet when the butter is melted and just begins to brown. Cook for a minute or two on each side and then transfer directly to the grill. Cook an addition two to three minutes per side. Be careful not to overcook. Serve on a toasted bun with Blind Guy’s Fish Sauce (recipe follows) or your favorite sauce.

Blind Guy’s Fish Sauce


½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons prepared white horseradish

Whisk together mayonnaise, parsley, mustard, lemon juice, and horseradish in a small glass bowl. Chill for at least one hour before serving.

Cedar Planked Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa

What I really like about salmon is the infinite ways it can be cooked and the wide range of seasonings you can use. Tonight I cooked our salmon on a cedar plank, one of my favorite ways by the way, and topped it with an avocado salsa. Not only was this dish very tasty, it was a double source of omega-3. Win-win!

Here’s what I did:


1 to 1 ½ lb salmon filet
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper

Avocado salsa
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
1 large jalapeño peppers, diced or sliced (red if available)
Juice from 2 limes
3 tbs olive oil
2 tbs finely chopped cilantro
Salt to taste


Prior to grilling, soak a cedar plank in water for at least two hours.

In a glass bowl, mix the salt, coriander, cumin, paprika, onion and black pepper together. Rub the salmon with the seasoning mix and let the fish rest for at least 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the grill to medium heat: 350° to 375°.

Meanwhile combine the avocado, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil and salt in a glass bowl and mix well, chill until ready to use.

Place the seasoned salmon on the soaked cedar plank and grill the salmon for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the salmon from the grill and allow to rest 5 to 10 additional minutes. Top with the avocado salsa and serve.

Herbed Baked Salmon: A quick, easy way to prepare this delicious fish

I really like salmon. It is quickly becoming one of my favorite fish. This recipe is very tasty and is an excellent way to prepare a quick evening meal after a hectic day. This is also one of my favorite ways of preparing salmon.


1 salmon fillet (1 to 1 ½ pound) bones removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup good olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 scallions, white and green parts, minced
¼ cup minced fresh dill
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
¼ cup dry white wine
Lemon wedges, for serving


Preheat the oven to 425° F.

Place the salmon fillet in a glass or ceramic roasting dish. Season it with salt and pepper. Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice and drizzle the mixture evenly over the salmon. Let it stand at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes.

Blend together the scallions, dill, and parsley. Cover the salmon fillet with the herb mixture over the salmon fillet. Slowly pour the wine over and around the fish fillet.

Roast the salmon for 10 to 12 minutes, until almost cooked in the center at the thickest part. Remove from the oven and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Cut the salmon across into serving pieces and serve hot with lemon wedges.

Cedar Planked Steelhead Trout


Here is an insanely simple recipe that is very delicious. The most time consuming part is soaking the cedar plank, but with a little forethought that can be negated. I made this tonight for “boys night” with my son Gregory. He absolutely loved it. I think his exact words were, “Dad, you can make this every night.”


Cedar plank
1 pound Steelhead trout filet (AKA Steelhead Salmon)
Cajun seasoning
Dry white wine


Soak cedar plank in dry white wine for 1 to 2 hours. Meanwhile take the steelhead out and season with Cajun seasoning and allow to come to room temperature.

Arrange coals in a charcoal grill to cook with indirect method of heating. When ready, place steelhead on cedar plank and place in the middle of the grill. Cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Garnish with lemon and serve with lemon slices.

Additional notes

The cedar planks can be soaked in a variety of things ranging from water to juices to liquors to wine. The fish will steam on the plank and pick up the smokiness of the grill along with the woodiness of the plank and what ever it was soaked in. This will be some of the best salmon you have ever put in your mouth.

Pan Roasted Salmon Bread Salad


Here is an surprisingly delicious and unique way to prepare salmon. The idea comes from Food and Wine magazine. Total time from start to table is less than an hour.


Ciabatta bread (12- 14 ounce loaf), cut into large chunks
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1 lemon, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced (you cannot slice these too thinly)
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 pounds center-cut skinless salmon fillet, cut into 2-inch chunks


Preheat the oven to 450°. In a large roasting pan, toss the ciabatta chunks with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Roast for about 5 minutes, until the bread is lightly toasted.

In a large bowl, toss the tomato halves with the garlic, capers, lemon, parsley, crushed red pepper and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Stir the tomatoes into the toasted bread. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to soften and break down.

Meanwhile, in the same bowl, toss the salmon with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Nestle the salmon into the bread and tomatoes, spooning some of the tomatoes on top. Roast for about 6 minutes, until the salmon is just cooked through. Serve right away.

Pecan Encrusted Salmon with Dijon Butter and Lemony Dill Peas

The only regret I have when I cook salmon is that I live in Iowa. Some day, I will have a fresh Chinook salmon flown in from Pike’s Place Market in Seattle. That or hope that my niece Kelly is kind enough to send me a fresh caught Alaskan salmon on her next Alaskan fishing trip. But C’est la vie… I live in Iowa. I’m stuck with frozen fish, but as Susan said, “I’d rather eat frozen fish than no fish at all.”

Here is what I did with the frozen filets I had in my freezer.

Pecan Encrusted Salmon with Dijon Butter


¼ cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 ½ tablespoons honey
¼ cup dry bread crumbs
¼ cup finely chopped pecans
4 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
4 (4 ounce) filets salmon
salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, for garnish


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F°.

2. In a small bowl, stir together butter, mustard, and honey. Set aside. In another bowl, mix together bread crumbs, pecans, and parsley.

3. Brush each salmon fillet lightly with honey mustard mixture, and sprinkle the tops of the fillets with the bread crumb mixture. Lightly press the bread crumb mixture into the fillets

4. Bake salmon 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until it flakes easily with a fork. Season with salt and pepper and spoon more Dijon butter over the filet, and garnish with a wedge of lemon.

Lemony Dill Peas


1 cup water
2 cups frozen green peas
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp dried dill
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Black pepper to taste

1. Add water to a medium-sized pot and bring the water to a boil, covered. Add the peas, cover partially, and let boil for about 4 minutes.

2. Remove from heat, drain (water can be reserved for making vegetable broth if desired), and rinse the peas with cold water (to stop cooking). Return the peas to the pot and stir in the lemon juice, dill, and mustard. Season to taste with black pepper. Serve immediately.

How does this sound for dinner tonight?

Salmon Cakes (recipe from this month’s Cook’s Illustrated)


  • 3tablespoons plus ¾ cup panko bread crumbs  
  • 2tablespoons minced fresh parsley  
  • 2tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 4teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 scallion , sliced thin
  • 1 small shallot , minced
  • 1teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¾teaspoon salt
  • ¼teaspoon pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 (1 ¼ pound) skinless salmon fillet , cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½cup vegetable oil


  1. Combine 3 tablespoons panko, parsley, mayonnaise, lemon juice, scallion, shallot, mustard, salt, pepper, and cayenne in bowl. Working in 3 batches, pulse salmon in food processor until coarsely chopped into ¼-inch pieces, about 2 pulses, transferring each batch to bowl with panko mixture. Gently mix until uniformly combined.
  2. Place remaining ¾ cup panko in pie plate. Using 1/3-cup measure, scoop level amount of salmon mixture and transfer to baking sheet; repeat to make 8 cakes. Carefully coat each cake in bread crumbs, gently patting into disk measuring 2 ¾ inches in diameter and 1 inch high. Return coated cakes to baking sheet.
  3. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place salmon cakes in skillet and cook without moving until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip cakes and cook until second side is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer cakes to paper towel–lined plate to drain 1 minute. Serve.

I’m thinking some grilled asparagus would complement these very well.