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Japanese-Style Salmon Burgers with Miso and Basil Mayonnaise

The inspiration for these burgers came from my love of Japanese cuisine, specifically miso soup and maki rolls. Traditional Japanese ingredients like miso and seaweed are healthy, unique and versatile, yet people tend to shy away from them, probably due to lack of familiarity. Wild salmon provides the perfect canvas to showcase these flavors and textures. The avocado and rich toasted sesame oil keep the burger moist, while the Miso and Basil Mayonnaise is a creamy flavorful addition to the whole package. Finally, the cucumber cuts through the richness of it all with a crisp, refreshing finish. Treat your guests to a little Japanese culture by tempting their taste buds with this sushi-inspired burger.


Miso and Basil Mayonnaise:
½ cup mayonnaise
20 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons mellow white miso (or other light miso)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salmon Patties:
2 sheets of dried nori seaweed
1 teaspoon mellow white miso
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 ½ pounds wild salmon fillets, skin and any bones removed, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 ½ teaspoons minced fresh ginger
3 scallions, chopped
3 tablespoons mashed avocado
¾ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill
6 sesame buns, split
½ cucumber, peeled and sliced into thin rounds (about 18 rounds)


Heat a charcoal or gas grill with a cover to medium-high heat. To make the Miso and Basil Mayonnaise: In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, basil, miso and lemon juice. Whisk together until all ingredients are combined. Cover and refrigerate. To make the Salmon Patties: Toast both sides of the nori over the grill by holding the sheets one by one a few inches from the grill surface for approximately 15 seconds on each side. Cool and crumble both sheets into small pieces (no bigger than your fingernail) and set aside. In a large bowl combine the miso, tamari and sesame oil. Stir well, making sure the miso is completely incorporated with the other ingredients. To the miso mixture, add the salmon, egg, ginger, scallions, mashed avocado, panko and crumbled nori. Stir well to combine. Form the salmon mixture into 6 patties. Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Carefully place the patties on the grill, cover and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until browned on the bottom. Turn and cook 5-7 minutes more, or until opaque throughout. During the last few minutes of grilling, toast the buns by placing them face down on the outer edges of the grill, making sure they don’t burn. To assemble the burger: Spread the miso and basil mayonnaise on the top and bottom of each bun. Place a patty on the bottom half of each bun and top each patty with 3-4 slices of cucumber. Top with roll tops and serve. Makes 6 burgers