Salmon Burgers with Lemon Tarragon Mayo

We’ve all heard by now that we’re supposed to eat more fish. The positive effects of its fatty acids on brain health, reducing risk of heart disease, and reducing inflammation are well established. Not to mention all those studies about the longevity of the Okinawans, who eat three servings of seafood a day on average and have more centenarians than any other people group on the planet. Whoa, whoa, whoa–three servings a day? Like breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Or maybe snack? I’m not sure how I feel about cracking open some Alaskan crab legs for my afternoon pick-me-up–although “Alaskan crab legs” is an anagram for “Large Basal Snack.” And, incidentally, “Ransacks a Leg Lab.” Coincidence? I don’t think so. So, okay, maybe crab legs for snack. But breakfast? I’ve got nothing. I’ll bet you there’s some food blogger out there who has gorgeous naturally-lit photographs of a superfood salmon-kale-peanut-butter-protein-powder smoothie all the healthy cool kids eat for breakfast these days, but whipping up a fish smoothie just isn’t my thing. So for my purposes, let’s stick with seafood at lunch and dinner.

These salmon burgers with their delicious zesty-herby sauce would be equally at home on your lunch or dinner table. They’re hands-down the best salmon burgers I’ve ever had: light, crispy, seasoned with an excellent combination of herbs, and–perhaps most importantly–containing a hefty dose of those helpful omega-3 fatty acids (especially if the salmon is wild-caught, not farmed). While it may seem counterintuitive if you’re a fish lover to stuff a pound of beautiful salmon fillet into the grinding jaws of a food processor, rest assured that the finished product is worth it. And if you’re not a fish lover, these burgers just may be a great way to trick yourself into upping your salmon consumption. So go ahead, give those Okinawans a run for their money and add some fish to your diet in a tasty way. Just, you know, maybe three times a week, not three times a day.

Salmon Burgers with Lemon Tarragon Mayo
(Adapted from The Cleaner Plate Club by Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin)


For Salmon Burgers:

2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. canola oil, divided
1 shallot, chopped
2 green onions, sliced
1/2-2/3 c. Panko bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. fresh tarragon (or 2 tsp. dried)
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
zest of 1 lemon
fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb. salmon, boned, skinned, rinsed, and patted dry

4 whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted

For Lemon-Tarragon Mayo:

1/4 c. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. fresh tarragon, chopped (or 2 tsp. dried)
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice


1. Heat 1 tsp. canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, Add the shallot and green onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Reserve the skillet and scrape the shallots and onions into a medium bowl. Add 1/2 c. Panko, tarragon, parsley, Dijon, salt, and lemon zest to the bowl, as well as a few grinds fresh-ground black pepper.

2. In a food processor, pulse half the salmon until it begins to look like a paste. Add the crumb mixture and pulse again a few times until well combined. Add remaining half of the salmon and pulse until the mixture looks like you could easily form it into patties. If it still looks too wet, add more Panko until you reach a desirable consistency. Form into 4 patties and set aside.

3. Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. canola oil over medium-high heat in the large skillet you used for the onions. Add the salmon patties and cook for 4 minutes on each side.

4. Meanwhile, make the lemon-tarragon mayo: in a small bowl, combine all ingredients until well blended.

5. Serve salmon burgers on toasted hamburger buns, topped with mayo and any other fixings you like!

Serves 4.

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