Monday, December 17, 2012

salmon burgers

I'm getting excited about the holidays, mostly because I get to cook both lots of comfort food I love and new dishes I've been hanging onto until a special occasion. I'm getting back into the swing of the blogging thing, so in the spirit of the coming resolutions I'm planning to blog (and exercise!) every day of the end of the year, starting today--well, to tell the truth, exercise will commence when I shake this virus (UGH). I'll share a few recipes too, also starting today.

As indicated in my last recipe post, we are a seafood-loving family. As a kid, I would only touch canned tuna sandwiches and fish sticks, but my horizons are much broader now. I'll even dig out the cheeks and eyeballs if served a whole fresh fish. YUM. I've probably told you about Vivi's obsession with fish. The kid can be found circling her dad like a hungry cat if he breaks out a can of smoked herring. HERRING!
While I hinted at our desire to eat sustainably caught fish in that last recipe post, I thought I'd touch on the subject in a bit more depth. Recently Nate and I have worried about our increasingly diminishing options when purchasing sustainably caught fish. I was first introduced to the subject back in the days in the late '90's when Patagonian toothfish (aka. Chilean sea bass) was a notorious no-no on restaurant menus due to illegal, unregulated fishing.

In 2006, I learned in The Wal-Mart Effect of Wal-Mart's detrimental effect on the coastline of Chile after they started a program to raise Atlantic salmon there. You can read an excerpt of the salmon chapter here.

After reading that book, I started to do research and realized there are many fish that we do eat but should not. It's a brave new fish-eating world out there, but luckily some people are committed both to finding ways to make eating the fish that's out there more appealing AND also importantly figure out a way to improve fishing in the future.

Barton Seaver, the DC chef and sustainable fish evangelist, appeared last March on The Splendid Table. It's one of my favorite NPR shows, but I don't often catch it live, which was the case with the beginning of that episode. I caught it instead on my backlog of Splendid Table podcasts. I had heard the middle of the episode (dark tea recommendations...very interesting!) a while back and saved it to return later. Boy am I glad I did. Barton quips that he loves "thinking inside the can" when it comes to fish, so it was no surprise to hear he loves salmon cakes.

Salmon burgers, aka. cakes or patties (but don't call any savory food "cake" in my household unless you want a riot on your hands), are one of those foods I had never made or even eaten until very recently. Nate told me forever ago that he ate them growing up, and I'd stored away that little nugget in my brain reserves for safe-keeping. A broken oven (wah wah wah) gave me the nudge I needed in the no-cook-recipe direction, plus salmon cakes seem to be making an appearance around the food interwebs, such as this Relish recipe, upon which my recipe below is partially based. I love how quick, easy, healthy, and sustainable these salmon cakes are. And did I mention frugal? The whole meal below costs about $4.


salmon burgers
serves 4

1 7 oz can of salmon (I got ours at Trader Joe's)
1 egg
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. plain breadcrumbs
1 Tbs. chopped fresh dill, green onion or chives
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. dill pickle relish (optional)
dash of hot sauce (optional)
salt and pepper
1 tsp. olive oil

Mix salmon, egg, mayonnaise and breadcrumbs in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients to taste. Divide mixture into four patties. Grease a broiler pan with olive oil. Add salmon cakes and broil for 10 minutes. Easy peasy! (Note: if you don't have a working oven, as is our current situation, you can also saute them in olive oil over medium high heat for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side).

Editor's Note: This post is a part of Sunday SchoolMonday ManiaReal Food Wednesday, and Seasonal Celebration Wednesday.

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