Scandinavian Summer Salmon Burger
Minnes”oh”ta is known and often teased for our Scandinavian roots.But along with the “uffdas” and “you betchas”, we also benefit from a tradition of innovative and intriguing Scandinavian flavors. Whether it’s the metropolitan Minneapolis or in rural Minnesota, Scandinavian influences abound. While some of our cuisine may be less than appetizing to some, many traditional flavor combinations need very little adaptation to remind us that with some things the “old country” definitely had it right. The Scandinavian Summer Salmon Burger celebrates this heritage and speaks to a state where the whole summer is a celebration of all things fresh and light.
Scandinavian Refrigerator Pickles
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup Pinot Grigio, returning the rest of the bottle to chill
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 large English or hothouse cucumber, peeled
1 small red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 egg whites
2 tablespoon light mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped chives
1 ½ lbs salmon filets, skins removed
2/3 cup plain bread crumbs
Lemon Mustard Aioli
3/4 cup light mayonnaise
2 1/2 tablespoons favorite honey mustard
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 teaspoons white pepper
pinch sea salt
12 leaves or 1 head Butter lettuce
1/4 cup Colavita extra virgin olive oil
6 whole wheat hamburger buns
To make the pickles whisk water and white sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Add the vinegar, wine, sea salt, black pepper and mix to combine. Using a mandoline (mind the fingertips!) or excellent knife skills, slice cucumbers and red onions into thin rounds. Add chopped dill and toss to combine. Sneak a taste and adjust seasonings, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Remove skin and bones from salmon. Cut salmon into large chunks and pulse in food processor until coarsely chopped, about 20 seconds. In a bowl lightly whisk egg whites, then add eggs whites and mayonnaise, sea salt, ground pepper, dill, and chives to the salmon. Gently mix salmon and stir in the bread crumbs. Mix with hands until just combined. Set aside in covered bowl in the refrigerator.
Combine mayonnaise, honey mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, and fresh pepper and set aside.
Preheat the grill to medium heat. Rinse and gently dry lettuce. Split buns and brush lightly with Colavita extra virgin olive oil.
Remove salmon mixture from refrigerator and divide into six portions. With wet hands, lightly shape each portion into a patty shape. Drizzle each side of every patty with olive oil. You may want to brush your grill with a bit of oil if it’s particularly sticky or “well loved.” Place carefully on grill and cook until just barely opaque in the center, or about 3-4 minutes per side.
Meanwhile place buns on a well controlled area of the grill, oil side down, and grill until golden brown and warm through. Remove the buns from the grill (don’t forget to watch your salmon!). Spread a thin coating of aioli on each bun half. Place 1-2 leaves of Butter lettuce on each bottom bun. Settle your fragrant and lovely salmon patty onto the lettuce and top with a few forkfuls of refrigerator pickles (just enough to mound nicely on the patty). Make sure you get some of the pickled onions as well!
Serve with Sutter Home Pinot Grigio or other favorite white wine. Or if you’re feeling really Scandinavian, try some aquavit! Skol!