Thursday, July 29, 2021

Salmon burgers with lemon-dill feta sauce


This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

I’ve been experimenting with a lot of unique burger recipes throughout the past year, mostly inspired by Trader Joe’s impressive selection. I love their shrimp burgers because you can see and taste big chunks of shrimp—the seafood isn’t all ground into a paste. On the other hand, the salmon burgers are kind of subpar. They look like pink hockey discs all stuck together. So I wanted to make my own salmon burger that tasted fresh with a lot of texture and flavor.

My main goal when developing the salmon burger recipe was to eliminate filler as much as possible to allow for the salmon flavor to shine through. That’s why I didn’t use any bread crumbs or mayo. I used a little Greek yogurt and egg instead. That way the salmon binds together, but still remains light and tender. The only other ingredients are fresh herbs and some seasonings. 

I’ve seen two methods for making salmon burgers: starting with raw salmon or starting with cooked / canned salmon. I prefer to use raw salmon because I think the patties come together with less filler more easily, and I like to be able to control the texture of the salmon.

To get the best texture and mouth-feel for these salmon burgers, I prefer to combine everything except the salmon in the food processor. The last thing I add is the salmon, and I hit pulse until everything is combined. I pulse it instead of blending it so that it doesn’t all turn into a paste. If you don’t have access to a food processor, you can chop the salmon into fine pieces.

The herbs and seasonings are customizable depending on your taste preferences. I chose parsley, dill, and oregano to complement the lemon, dill, and feta spread I made to go with it. Ever since my friend Emily told me she likes to serve her shrimp burgers with whipped feta, I’ve been dreaming about creating a similar spread for salmon burgers.

The combination of lemon and dill with feta really brighten the flavor of the salmon. The salty-tangy combination tastes really fresh, and it’s absolutely perfect for summer. And of course I used Challenge cream cheese because they use real milk, cream, and natural ingredients, and nothing beats the superior flavor and ultra smooth finish. Honestly, I make this sauce pretty much every week because it tastes great on everything: sandwiches, crackers, vegetables, by the spoonful, etc.

Also, please take note that this recipe makes 8 decently large burgers (about 3.5 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch thick). You can certainly cook all 8 burgers, or you can do what I like to do and freeze half of them uncooked. I made the recipe with such a large yield because I hate it when you spend a ton of time making something only to get 4 servings.

Salmon burgers with lemon-dill feta sauce

Yield: Makes 8 burgers


For the lemon-dill feta sauce

  • 1 (8-ounce) block feta cheese
  • 4 ounces Challenge cream cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons dill, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt, to taste

For the salmon burgers

  • 1/4 cup dill
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, plain
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 pounds raw, wild salmon, skin and bones removed, cut into chunks
  • Toppings such as lettuce, onions, tomatoes
  • Optional: 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs


For the lemon-dill feta sauce

  1. Blend feta cheese and cream cheese in food processor until smooth 
  2. Add everything else and blend until combined
  3. Taste sauce and adjust salt and seasonings as necessary
  4. Place sauce in bowl and wipe out food processor because you’ll use it for burgers

For the salmon burgers

  1. Combine herbs, Greek yogurt, eggs, and seasonings in food processor.
  2. Add salmon to food processor and pulse until everything is combined. Be careful not to over-process.
  3. Cover and place in refrigerator for about a half hour (or up to 24 hours in advance).
  4. Form the mixture into 8 patties that are about 3 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch thick (I used an ice cream scoop to portion).
  5. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes to allow the patties to firm up before cooking.
  6. OPTIONAL: Add panko bread crumbs to shallow bowl and coat salmon burgers in panko before cooking for crispy exterior.
  7. Grill the patties on medium heat for about 4 minutes per side or cook in skillet on stove for same amount of time until inside registers between 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. (USDA requires salmon to register 145 degrees Fahrenheit, but that’s for well-done fish and salmon will continue to cook even after it’s removed from heat source)
  8. Assemble salmon burgers by spreading lemon-dill feta sauce on both the top and bottom buns. Place lettuce and burger on bottom bun with salmon burger. Add any additional toppings and close with other half of bun.

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