Another Half Baked Harvest recipe! Today I made her blackened salmon burgers with herb cream cheese.
So something that’s annoyed me for a long time, and I think a lot of people can relate to, is the fact that the estimated completion time in recipes is always wildly too short. Part of that is of course because people with the skills to write cookbooks are usually talented chefs and also know the recipe inside and out. But a lot of them call for things like chopped parsley or onions, minced garlic, cooked pasta, etc. I don’t know about everyone else, but I definitely don’t keep precooked pasta around my house and I only have herbs and veggies chopped if I bought them from the salad bar or happen to have leftovers from a previous recipe. More often than not, these recipes take me way longer than the estimated time.
Needless to say, this recipe was one of those recipes. There was so much chopping involved! The recipe suggested grilled pineapple as one of the toppings for these burgers. Instead, I made a pineapple salsa. I diced pineapple and roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped jalapeño, chopped cilantro, and mixed them all together with a bit of salt. Next, I chopped basil, dill, and parsley and added it to whipped cream cheese. This all took a lot longer than anticipated but once it was done I was able to start work on the patties.
Another thing I learned from this dish is that just because you ask the person behind the fish counter at Whole Foods to skin the fish for you, doesn’t mean they actually will. That happened here and luckily my dad stepped in and skinned the fish for me because I would have had no idea how to handle that. Then my friend took care of chopping up the salmon until it was the consistency of ground chicken. She did this with a knife because I don’t have a food processor and I thought that if I put it in the Vitamix it would have pureed too quickly and been impossible to use. Then I mixed the chopped fish with panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and a bit of olive oil. I formed patties and placed them in the pan before freaking out when I realized I’d forgotten to season them with the spice rub my friend had prepared. Luckily, it hadn’t been too long and I was able to take them out and rub it on. It was brown sugar, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, dried thyme, salt, and pepper. I placed them back in a skillet with olive oil and pan fried them until they were cooked through and brown on the outside. Meanwhile, brioche buns toasted briefly under the broiler.
These burgers were sweeter than anticipated due to the brown sugar, but the flavor profile of the spice mix worked so perfectly with the pineapple salsa and it was nicely balanced out by the richness of the herb cream cheese. These were probably not something I’d eat every day, even if they hadn’t been so high effort, but they were really tasty and it was nice to cook something outside of my comfort zone.