Monday, February 13, 2012

Savage Boleks' Steelhead Sliders

Followers of this blog may recall that my beautiful Angel provided a guest blog post about the Salmon Burgers that she made.  When we were preparing for our Super Bowl party, I decided that we should make slider versions of those amazing burgers.  We went to a local warehouse store, looking for pounds of sustainable salmon.  (This is a challenge, which is best left for another day.)  We looked at the salmon there, but we were not impressed with the fillets.  There were discolorations and imperfections that, as someone who has cooked a lot of fish and seafood, left me very uneasy. The store also had fillets of  Steelhead.   Those fillets looked a lot better, so we bought a couple to make our sliders. 

Steelhead are sometimes referred to as salmon; however, they  are not salmon.  Steelhead are rainbow trout that share a lot in common with salmon.  Born in freshwater, the steelhead migrate to the oceans to grow and mature.  Once they are ready to reproduce, they return up the rivers to where they were born.  The one significant difference is that, while salmon die after reproducing, steelhead usually continue to live and reproduce.  This makes steelhead more sustainable, because they are able to reproduce up to several times before they die.  Today, most steelhead are farmed like Atlantic Salmon and conservation watchdogs, like the Monterrey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch, list steelhead as a "best choice."  

This recipe follows Clare's salmon burger recipe very closely.  We served the burgers with a choice of dill yogurt or ancho guacamole condiments.   These are great sliders, which can also be made with actual salmon (whether sockeye, coho or king salmon).

A Chef Bolek Collaboration with Clare Bolek
Serves 12-18

2 pounds of fresh steelhead fillets
3/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons of prepared mustard
1 medium Vidalia onion, diced
1 cup of dried mushrooms, ground into powder
3 cups Panko bread crumbs
2 beaten eggs
3 cloves garlic, diced finely
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup of Greek yogurt or guacamole
1 tablespoon of fresh dill (if you use yogurt)

1.  Prepare the salmon mixture.  Cutting the salmon into even pieces.  Place the salmon pieces in a food processor and process until the salmon is broken up.  Add the salmon to a bowl and add the onion, garlic, cilantro, paprika and lemon juice.  Mix thoroughly and then add the Panko bread crumbs, eggs and olive oil. Continue to mix thoroughly.

2.  Make the slider patties.  Make patties by taking a handful of the salmon mixture.  You should get about a dozen patties.  Place the patties on a sheet of wax paper.  Once all of the patties are formed, place them in the freezer for about one half of an hour.

3.  Cook the patties.   Let the burgers cook for about three to four minutes and then flip them.  Continue to cook the burgers for about three more.  Remove the burgers from the heat.

Serve the salmon sliders on toasted or grilled buns.  You can use whatever toppings you like, such as lettuce, tomato, red onion or ... guacamole.  If you use yogurt, chop the dill very finely and mix it into the yogurt.  Spoon a little yogurt onto the bottom of the bun and place the slider on top.


When one thinks of salmon, especially in the Pacific Northwest, the thoughts turn to Pinot Noir.  Oregon has many great Pinot Noir wines (some of which I have reviewed on this blog).  A couple of suggestions include the following:

Privé Vineyard -- Le Nord (2008)
100% Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA
Flavors of cherries and spice

100% Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA
Flavors of dark berries and mocha

If you would like to pair these sliders with a beer, an American Pale Ale or a regular Pale Ale would pair well.  These beers have a moderate hop flavor that should not be too piney, bitter or resinous.  I would advise against an India Pale Ale, which would probably be too bitter for this dish.


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