If you live in the Midwest, you’re probably familiar with Hy-Vee chain of grocery stores. They have an absolutely marvelous meat counter with all kinds of grab & cook options. My folks love their burgers along with quite a few of the options there. Me? I’m all about the Salmon Burgers. The only problem for cheap lil’ ol’ me? The price. And it’s not that the prices are outlandish, it’s just that they are a lot more than homemade options.
I’ve been spending the majority of my time these days in South Dakota helping out the folks and they are and always have been what I would call “spenders.” I just cringe inside a little every time we’re at the grocery store. Ok, I cringe a lot! I try to herd them past (as much as you can herd my fave octogenarians) that marvelous meat case.
About Salmon Burgers:
You’d THINK I’d go wild and say, “Hey, let’s get some steak or lobster or whatever” but I guess a lifetime of trying to stay in budget has me set in my ways. But I can’t stop thinking about those Hy Vee Salmon burgers, so I knew I had to create a reasonable facsimile at home. I can’t say these are an exact duplicate of the Hy Vee Salmon burgers but I think they’re close. What I can say is these are pretty darned fabulous!
Now you might think if I’m frugal and cooking with a pricey fresh Salmon (read below on how to get the most bang for your buck when shopping for Salmon) I might try to stretch it with a lot of breadcrumbs or filler. For me, it makes more sense to do everything I can to respect and highlight the Salmon in all its glory, especially since it’s kind of a special treat at my house.
Besides, serving salmon as burgers kind of automatically stretches it, in my mind, anyway. These are especially good with a little crispy, crunchy slaw. Bonus! Cabbage is always a budget item! Of course, if you’re going low carb, you can eat these just like the old fashioned Salmon patties. I’m betting you’ll like them more, though!
Making Salmon Burgers:
I have little technique in making these burgers that I learned from the esteemed food writer, Mark Bittman. Do you know him? He’s had quite a few columns, a few TV shows and has numerous books out. He’s probably most famous for his book “How to Cook Everything” which I love, and gave away to my daughter, darn it all! No one, btw, paid me to reference Bittman or his book! But maybe they should, lol!
The key take away is to use a food processor to whip some of the Salmon into a paste with a bit of mustard (it really gets sticky) and that holds the burgers together with only a minimum of breadcrumb. Then add in the rest of the salmon and break down into a mince with short pulses.
The recipe has some minced red bell pepper in it, too, so if you want to use the processor to mince that as well, do it before you work on the salmon and then remove the bell pepper from the food processor. Your processor will be pretty sticky once you’ve finished the salmon.
Then you’ll gently stir all the remaining ingredients in by hand; you want to keep it as light as possible and still have it all hold together. Start with the minimum of bread crumb and give a bit of it a gentle squeeze; use as much pressure as you would to form a burger. If it holds together, you’re golden. If it’s crumbly add a bit more moisture. If it feels too wet, a touch more breadcrumb will help.
Changes in ingredients or different types of Salmon other than fresh may slightly change the moisture content and that will change how the burgers form and hold together, too. If you use frozen (or canned) just use that same test same gentle squeeze test and adapt with more breadcrumb as needed.
Saving Money on Salmon Burgers:
Fresh Salmon is never “cheap” but there are great sales now and then as different varieties come in season, and there are always great specials around both the winter sales (which includes Christmas and New Year and the Easter/Lent sales. If you take a peek at the ads, you’re likely to see some great sales around Valentine’s Day, too. See my post on Win at the Grocery where I have links to pages for each holiday and what to look for on sale. When the price is low, that’s when I like to make these burgers.
You may not know this, but stores that cut their own fillets and salmon steaks may have odd bits of Salmon for sale at a steep discount (and when I trim my own salmon, I have the same because I keep the odd bits and add them to a bag in my freezer). It’s all going to be minced and chopped up, so it doesn’t really matter what shape or form the salmon is in.
If you can’t get fresh at a great price, try frozen. Check Aldi and your buyer’s club. You might even want to consider Canned Salmon, which is a great budget option for wild-caught Alaskan Salmon.Print
- Total Time: 20 minutes + chill
- Yield: 4 burgers 1x
- Category: Sandwiches
- Cuisine: American
- 1 pound skinless, boneless salmon
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- Lemon wedges
Working quickly to keep as cold as possible, cut the salmon into 1″ chunks. Take about a quarter of the salmon and add to a food processor along with the mustard. Process until the mixture becomes a paste, stopping to scrape down sides.
Add the remaining salmon and pulse off and on until the salmon is chopped into fine pieces. Don’t over process into a paste but make sure there are no large chunks. Remove to a bowl.
By hand, stir in egg, breadcrumbs (start with half a cup, add more after you’ve added the rest of the ingredients if the burgers seem very wet) green onions, peppers, garlic, lemon juice, soy sauce, salt, and pepper.
Shape into four burgers. If desired, burgers may be refrigerated at this point. (I find the burgers hold together better if they spend some time in the refrigerator, 30 minutes to four hours.)
If grilling, brush the patties with butter or oil and grill about 4 minutes the first side (don’t turn too soon or they won’t be firm enough to remove from the grate) then turn and finish for a moment or two.
If using a pan, place butter or oil in a nonstick skillet and heat to medium-high. When the foam subsides or oil is hot, cook burgers for two to three minutes per side, turning once.
Doneness can be checked by making a small cut with a knife, but be careful not to overcook it.
Keywords: Bargain Meal of the Week, Burgers, Fish and Seafood, Freezes Well, hy-vee, Mark Bittman, Salmon, Sandwiches
You know I’ll be bringing this to our Throwback Thursday #31 Link Party, hosted by Quinn of Dad What’s for Dinner, Meaghan of 4 Sons are Us, Alli of Tornadough, Carlee from Cooking with Carlee and Moi! That’s right – me! Click over to our Throwback Thursday post for links to their blogs and social media, rules and more info or just click on the blue leapfrog, below, to view all the Throwback Thursday Posts or enter your own!