Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Greek Salmon Burgers

Salmon Burger I was the lucky recipient of a jar of dried Greek oregano, courtesy of a dear friend with a bountiful herb garden and a knack for drying herbs. When she handed me the jar, I unscrewed the lid and inhaled the still-vibrant fragrance from the recently-picked herbs... and was instantly transported to back in time to my Mom's kitchen when I was a little girl and Mom would make her signature chicken dish, which featured Greek oregano in a starring role despite the recipe not being Greek. I've always swooned over oregano, and rosemary is a close second on my list of herbs I can't live without. The gift of Greek oregano from my friend inspired me to create the following recipe for salmon burgers seasoned with Greek herbs. This recipe made 6 medium salmon burgers, and Greg and I devoured them all in one sitting (although admittedly we ate them without buns or other bread). Ideally these burgers should be served in pita with tzatziki sauce--Greek yogurt and cucumber sauce--as the condiment, and lettuce, tomatoes and/or thin slices of cucumber as the condiments. But regular seafood condiments like tartar sauce, cocktail sauce or crab cake sauce will work, too. Opa!

1 can (14.75 oz) salmon, preferably red
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup flour, preferably whole wheat
2 Tbs minced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Lipstick pepper or other small sweet mini-pepper, de-seeded (or 1 Tbs minced bell pepper)
1 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp dried oregano, preferably Greek
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp dried dillweed
1/4 tsp dried mint
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, for frying

Drain the can of salmon, place the salmon in a large bowl and use a fork to break it up completely. *Note: I don't worry about any skin or little bones as they break up and the bones provide calcium--but if you prefer, you can remove them. Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the olive oil, and mix together until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated--see photo on right. Shape the mixture into patties, place on a large plate or platter, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes--this will help the patties hold together better for frying. It also gives you time to make my tzatziki recipe.

When ready to cook, heat 1 to 2 Tbs olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove salmon burgers from fridge, remove the plastic wrap and carefully place burgers in the hot oil, leaving some room so that you can flip them more easily--I cooked the burgers in two batches, returning the plate with uncooked burgers to the refrigerator while the first batch cooked. Cover the skillet and let the burgers cook for several minutes until the side in the oil is golden brown. You'll know they're ready to flip when you can easily slide a spatula under them and they hold together. Flip the burgers, cover the pan, and cook for several minutes until golden brown on both sides, as shown in photo on left. Use the spatula to lift the cooked burgers from the oil and place on paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Serve hot with tzatziki or other condiments, in pita or hamburger buns or without bread if preferred.

Zestfully yours,

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