Monday, February 3, 2014

Pike's Place Salmon Burgers

The Pike's Place Market is one the most well known symbols of the city of Seattle.   It opened on August 17, 1907, the result of a proposal by Seattle City Councilman Thomas Revelle, who proposed the idea of a public market where both farmers could sell their goods directly to the city's residents.  According to the market's website, Councilman Revelle proclaimed, "the Market is yours. I dedicate it to you and may it prove of benefit to you and your children. It is for you to protect, defend, and uphold and it is for you to see that those who occupy it treat you fairly. … This is one of the greatest days in the history of Seattle."  For more than 100 years, I think the citizens of Seattle have upheld their responsibilities to protect, defend and uphold that market and, during that time, the market and its vendors have provided a lot to the citizens, including this one particular recipe for Pike's Place Salmon Burgers.

I happened to find this recipe when I was preparing for our annual Super Bowl Party.  With each game, the challenge is to make sandwiches or snacks that are representative of the city or state whose teams are playing in the game.  Super Bowl XLVIII featured the Denver Broncos vs. the Seattle Seahawks.  As the conference championships came to a close, I immediately knew that I would be making a salmon burger to represent the city of Seattle.  I just needed a recipe.

I found that recipe on the NBC Today website.  The recipe comes from the Pike's Place Fish Guys, Justin Hall and Anders Miller, and can be found in their cookbook, In the Kitchen with the Pike's Place Fish Guys.  The  Fish Guys give a relatively straightforward introduction to the dish: These are the very same patties that seem to fly out of the case at Pike Place Fish. They are great served on their own or with your favorite sauce, such as tartar or dill sauce. We think the best way to serve them is on a brioche bun, with a little arugula, tomato, and a slice of Walla Walla sweet onion on top. This might be the best salmon burger ever. 

The "best salmon burger ever"?  That is a pretty bold claim. I will say that this recipe produces a great salmon burger.  It is definitely better with the tomato, sweet onion and arugula.  While it is a great burger, and perhaps the best Northwestern-style salmon burger, I personally think my beautiful Angel's Salmon Burgers are the best salmon burgers ever, especially smoked on a cedar plank and served with ancho guacamole. 

Recipe from NBC Today 
Serves 4

Ingredients (for the burgers):
1 pound boneless, skinless, wild salmon, finely chopped
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon rub (see recipe below)
1 teaspoon Northwest Seafood Seasoning (see recipe below)
1 cup panko crumbs

Ingredients (for the rub):
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup dried cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seed
1 1/2 tablespoons garlic pepper seasoning
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ground celery seed
1/4 cup dried granulated onion
1 1/2 tablespoons of ground chipotle chile

Ingredients (for the Northwest Seafood Seasoning):
1/3 cup dried minced garlic
1/3 cup dried granulated onion
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
4 teaspoons granulated lemon peel
1/3 cup dried dill
1/3 cup paprika
2 tablespoons celery seed
1/2 cup dried parsley
1/4 cup medium grind black pepper

1.  Prepare the rub: Combine all of the ingredients (brown sugar, paprika, cilantro, fennel seed, garlic pepper, salt, celery seed, onion, and chipotle) in a bowl and mix well. Store in a covered container for at least 6 months.

2.  Prepare the Northwest Seafood Seasoning: Combine all of the ingredients (garlic, onion, salt, lemon peel, dill, paprika, celery seed, parsley, and pepper) in a bowl and mix well. Store in a covered container for at least 6 months.

3.  Prepare the burgers. Place the chopped salmon in a large bowl and add 2 teaspoons of the oil, the rub, and the seafood seasoning. Mix thoroughly with your hands. Add the panko crumbs and mix to combine.  Form the mixture evenly into 4 patties, packing them firmly around the edges so they don't fall apart. Each patty should be between 1/2 and 3/4 inch thick.

4.  Cook the burgers.  Preheat a skillet (cast iron works well) over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is nearly smoking, add the patties and cook for 3 minutes. Turn carefully with a spatula and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. The patties may also be grilled over medium-high heat for the same amount of time.

5.  Plate the dish.  Toast the ciabatta buns or sandwich buns for a couple of minutes.  Place a burger on the bottom half of the bun and top with a slice of tomato, some thin slices of onion and some arugula.

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