Typically speaking, by the time August wraps up I’m completely over burgers of any kind. That was until we made these Cedar Plank Salmon Burgers. Where have these been all of my life? Now, I’ve had salmon burgers before, but they all pale in comparison next to these (if I may be so bold). Filled with a perfect hint of smoky flavor from the cedar plank and served on a fresh crusty bun topped with a generous scoop of homemade tartar sauce (oh yes, and veggies, how can I forget those!?), these are phenomenal to serve at any time of the year. I can tell that we will be pulling out the Sorels for a winter barbeque already!
Now, let’s talk fish. I grew up eating fresh fish from Northern Alberta (walleye or pickerel as we call it), and it literally went from the boat to the frying pan in less than an hour every time. Needless to say the bar for ‘fresh fish’ was set high. Fast-forward to my adulthood, and finding truly fresh fish is nearly impossible. Truth be told, even ‘fresh’ fish that you see at the grocery store has been previously frozen (and then stored for who-knows-how-long in the display case) before you bring it home. No wonder I’ve been disappointed!
Enter the concept of ‘fresh frozen’. Ok, it may sound like a bit of a contradiction, but hear me out. When fish is caught at sea, those hardworking fishermen are out there for days, making it necessary to freeze the fish on the boat until they go back to shore to keep it as fresh as possible. Even when you buy fish straight off the boat, many times it has actually been frozen! And there’s nothing wrong with that. Haida Wild takes the freshest fish possible, processes it and flash freezes it immediately so that the fish stays as absolutely fresh as possible until it arrives at your door and lands on your dinner plate. In truth the same concept applies for many vegetables, where they are often more nutritious purchased frozen versus fresh (thanks to many long days hanging out on the store shelf losing nutrients in some cases). Frozen food has a bad reputation, but most of it is undeserved in truth, at least when it comes to foods in their natural state (vs those that are processed).
We used coho or sockeye salmon for these burgers (you can order them to be delivered to your doorstep here), but you can use chinook salmon if you wish. If you don’t have a cedar plank, or are simply too pressed for time, you can throw the salmon right on the grill with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. But I highly recommend following the recipe below if you have time!
Makes 4 burgers
- ¾ c. good quality mayo
- ¼ c. finely chopped dill pickles
- ¼ c. finely chopped red onion
- juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ c. freshly chopped dill
- 1 tsp. drained capers, chopped
Mix all of the ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- 4 salmon filets, de-boned (coho, chinook or sockeye)
- 4 c. water
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 large cedar plank
- At least 2 hours prior to cooking the salmon, soak the cedar plank in cold water (I usually do this in a clean kitchen sink or another large shallow vessel that will accommodate the plank and weigh it down with something heavy).
- To prepare the salmon, de-bone and remove the skin from your salmon filets. Prepare the brine in a large shallow container (I find that a 9×13” baking dish works well). Place the salmon in the brine, cover with plastic wrap, and allow it to sit in the brine for 1 hour.
- Preheat the barbeque on the high heat setting. Remove the salmon from the brine, rinse the filets and pat them dry with a paper towel. Allow the salmon to get to room temperature on the counter (30 minutes).
- Turn the barbeque down to medium heat and place the plank on the grill. Close the lid of the barbeque and allow the plank to heat up until it smokes, roughly 5 minutes. You may need to adjust the heat setting on your barbeque depending on how hot your grill gets. Have a squirt bottle with water in it in case the plank flares up.
- Place your salmon filets evenly along the plank with the skinned side down. Close the lid and cook the filets for 7-10 minutes, until just done. Salmon filets vary in their thickness so the cook time will also vary.
- Place on your burger bun, dress with your desired toppings and serve!
- 4 fresh Kaiser buns
- 2 c. baby arugula or 8 leaves butter lettuce
- 2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
- ¼ large red onion thinly sliced