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Wild Salmon Burgers with Lemon Ginger Beurre Blanc and Cilantro Gremolata

If truth be told, it took some creative thinking to craft a winning burger with only 16 ingredients. On special occasions, I serve grilled halibut with ginger beurre blanc and cilantro gremolata, which I discovered also compliment my grilled wild king salmon patties very nicely. I was able to keep within the sixteen ingredient limit by using extra hamburger buns to make the bread crumbs needed for my salmon patties.


Lemon Ginger Beurre Blanc:
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon finely grated, peeled fresh ginger
1 large lemon, squeezed to yield 1/4 cup lemon juice (if possible save remainder of lemon for another use)
1/4 cup Sutter Home Sauvignon Blanc
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks butter, very cold
Cilantro Gremolata:
3/4 cup (tightly packed) fresh cilantro
6 garlic cloves
1 large lemon, zested to yield 1 tablespoon of zest (if possible, zest the squeezed lemon that was used for the lemon ginger beurre blanc)
2 pounds wild king salmon fillet, skinned and de-boned
2 hamburger buns, processed into very fine crumbs
1/2 of a large red onion, minced
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large lemon, zested and squeezed to yield 1/2 teaspoon of finely minced zest and 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
olive oil for forming patties olive oil for brushing grill rack and patties
30 arugula leaves
1/2 of a large red onion, thinly sliced
6 hamburger buns, split


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. To make the lemon ginger beurre blanc, combine the shallot, ginger, lemon juice and wine in a small, heavy fire-proof saucepan. Place on the grill rack and simmer, stirring frequently, until liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Move saucepan to the outer edge of the grill rack and whisk in the cold butter, one tablespoon at a time, until melted. Remove saucepan from the grill and pour butter through cheese cloth (to remove solids) into a bowl. Return butter to the saucepan and vigorously whisk for 30 seconds or until smooth. Set aside and whisk from time to time. To make the cilantro gremolata, place the cilantro, garlic, and lemon zest in a pile on a cutting board. Using a large chef’s knife, hold the tip against the cutting board and rock the knife rapidly up and down, while gradually moving the knife sideways across the ingredients. Continue until the cilantro, garlic, and lemon zest are finely chopped together. Place in a small bowl and set aside. To make the patties, cut the salmon fillet into strips, cut the strips crosswise, and finely chop by hand until well minced and textured like raw hamburger. Transfer the salmon to a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the hamburger bun crumbs, red onion, shallot, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and eggs. Handling the salmon mixture as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. If the salmon mixture seems too wet to hold together, fold in 1 or more tablespoons of the remaining hamburger bun crumbs. Coat your hands with olive oil and form the mixture into 6 equal patties to fit the bun. Place formed patties onto a clean plate. When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack and both sides of the patties with olive oil. Place the patties on grill rack, cover, and cook, turning once, for about 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through (internal temperature of about 15 degrees). During the last few minutes of cooking, place the saucepan with the beurre blanc on the edge of the grill rack to warm. Place the buns, cut sides down around the outer edges of the grill rack to toast lightly. To assemble the burgers, place 5 arugula leaves on the cut side of each bottom bun, place equal amounts of red onion slices on top of the arugula. Place patties on the red onion slices. Spoon equal amounts of the warm beurre blanc over the top of each patty followed by sprinkling an equal portion of the gremolata evenly over the top of each patty. Add the bun tops and serve.


 I used both the Sutter Home Sauvignon Blanc and the Chardonnay, which both worked great in the beurre blanc. however, because I enjoy drinking the Sauvignon variety a smidge better, I chose to incorporate it into the recipe.