Simpler and faster than crab cakes, these burgers are a weeknight regular at my house. You can serve them on buns or plate them with a ramekin of Herbed Sherry Mayo and a mound of crisp, crunchy greens. This mayo has been a must-have with f sh on my family’s table since the 1950s. It’s also great with Asian Salmon Loaf, page 94, and with steamed artichokes and asparagus.
Herbed Sherry Mayo
2 cups mayonnaise (Hellmann’s or Best Foods)
3 tablespoons tarragon vinegar, white wine vinegar, or rice vinegar
3 tablespoons dry sherry
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh herbs (equal parts chives, parsley, tarragon, and basil, or whatever you have)
1 12-ounce salmon fillet
1 red onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
11/ 2 cups plain dried bread crumbs
1 large egg
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose fl our, for dusting
1/ 2 cup olive oil, plus more if needed
4 hamburger buns, split and toasted
4 lettuce leaves
4 tomato slices
4 thin slices red onion
1. For the mayo: Whisk together all the ingredients in a large bowl. (The mayo will keep in your fridge for up to 1 week, tightly covered.)
2. For the burgers: Cut the salmon fi llet into 3 or 4 pieces and pulse in a food processor about 10 times, until coarsely ground. Don’t overmix; you don’t want the fi sh to turn into paste. Add the onion, bread crumbs, egg, and Tabasco and pulse a few times to mix. Transfer to a large bowl.
3. Mix in the scallion, basil, salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Shape the mixture into 4 patties, sprinkling on a few drops of water if the mixture is too dry to hold together. Pour the fl our onto a plate and add a few grinds of black pepper. Lightly coat the salmon patties with fl our on each side and set them on a plate.
4. Pour the oil into a large skillet (it should be ¼ inch deep) and heat over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers but is not yet smoking. Gently place the salmon patties in the hot oil and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Line a plate with paper towels. When the burgers are done, transfer them to the paper-lined plate.
5. To assemble the burgers: Place each salmon burger on the bottom of a bun, spoon on the mayo, and top with the lettuce, tomato, and onion. Cover with the top half of the roll and serve.
6. Cat’s note: To make this an appetizer, shape the salmon mixture into 15 small cakes, 1½ inches across, and cook the mini salmon cakes for about 1½ minutes on each side. Serve with a dab of mayo or spoon the mayo into ramekins for dipping.