Thai-style Alaska Salmon Burgers are deliciously inspired by Thai fish cakes, made with fresh Alaska king salmon and served with a sriracha aioli! You’ll love how simple these salmon fishcakes are! This post is brought to you by Alaska Seafood.
Ever since what has become known as the “Big Pescatarian Challenge” in our family a couple of years ago, I would say that the amount of seafood we have consumed has perhaps tripled. What used to be a weekly purchase increased significantly, and with my daughter fully embracing a pescatarian diet, we now eat fish multiple times a week. Dishes like Sole Meunière and Baked Halibut with Olives and Tomatoes make the rotation frequently, but I realize that of all the seafood dishes I have shared over the years, there is one that is sorely missing.
A salmon burger.
For the non-meat eaters in my family, I think what they do crave from time to time is that satisfying bite into a juicy burger, and it was time to fix that. I take inspiration from Thai fish cakes and pack those delicious red curry flavors into these succulent burgers — the easy sriracha aioli gives it an extra kick which each family member can add to their liking, and while I like topping it with a pineapple salsa, that really is optional because the burgers are simply delicious all on their own (or with whatever toppings make you happy!).
It also happens to be National Seafood Month, so it is fitting to share with you that I will be partnering with my friends at Alaska Seafood over the next several months! Whether I am cooking fish at home or ordering it when I’m dining at a restaurant, when I eat seafood from Alaska, I am comforted to know that the fish is wild-caught, sustainably harvested, and healthy. I hope you enjoy this recipe to kick off the Alaska seafood series!
WHAT SEAFOOD COMES FROM ALASKA?
Seafood from Alaska is harvested from cold, glacier-fed waters, making it exceptionally clean and of the highest quality. I love knowing that when you see “Alaska” at the seafood counter or on the packaging, then you know that the seafood you are buying was caught sustainably; Alaska has very strict measures and monitors its seafood harvests closely based on scientific data, ensuring that none of its species are on the endangered list. Plus, the Alaska seafood industry supports small fishermen and their communities and has sustainable fishing was added to Alaska’s constitution when it became a state in 1959!
Seafood varieties that come from Alaska include:
- Alaska salmon, including king, coho, pink, sockeye, and keta
- Alaska whitefish such as halibut, sablefish, cod, pollock, sole and rockfish
- Alaska crab, including king crab, snow crab, and Dungeness crab
For more information about Alaska seafood, visit wildalaskaseafood.com
WHAT KIND OF SALMON IS BEST?
Alaska salmon is a wonderful choice when it comes to seafood – it’s low in calories and high in protein, and an exceptional source of omega 3 fatty acids, which is important for heart health, lowering inflammation, and improving brain function. All species of wild Alaska salmon have low levels of mercury.
Did you know that 90-95 percent of wild salmon harvested in the U.S. comes from Alaska?
There are five species of Alaska salmon, each with its own special characteristics. To pick the best salmon, consider the flavor and cooking method that is best suited for each species:
- Sockeye – red in color, lean, and one of the most popular species of salmon, sockeye salmon’s flavor and texture make it well suited to all kinds of preparation, from grilling to roasting, steaming and pan-searing.
- King – the largest of the salmon species, king salmon is deep red in color and high in oil content, making it ideal for marinating and grilling.
- Pink – this small variety is mild in flavor and most often found in canned salmon. Pink salmon is lower in oil content and also the most abundant of the Alaska salmon species. Best cooked at lower cooking temperatures.
- Keta – a smaller salmon variety that is firm in texture and mild in flavor, the roe is also considered desirable. Also better cooked at lower cooking temperatures.
- Coho – milder in flavor compared to sockeye and king salmon, this is the second-largest species after king salmon. Coho is ideal for grilling.
HOW TO MAKE SALMON BURGERS
Salmon burgers are very simple to make, and this version, made with fresh Alaska salmon, embraces Thai flavors such as red curry paste and sriracha. A food processor makes it especially quick, and you can ask your fishmonger to skin the fillets for you if you want to save even more time! If you’re worried that the salmon burgers are too spicy, I assure you that they’re not, but you can fully control the spice by adjusting the amount of sriracha you use.
Fresh aromatics such as scallion and cilantro combine with red curry paste, sriracha, and mayonnaise as the binder.
Salmon burgers benefit from some chill time in the refrigerator to help keep its structure when you cook them, along with a quick dusting of rice flour to help bind it together and form a crust on the exterior.
SALMON BURGER TIPS
What kind of salmon should I use in salmon burgers?
Select your salmon based on texture and flavor – you want salmon that is firm and will hold up to being ground into a patty. I make my salmon burgers with Alaska king or coho salmon. King salmon has a delicious flavor but can be more pricey, while coho salmon is a more affordable, yet equally delicious option.
How do I form the salmon burger patties?
I like to divide the salmon mixtures evenly by weighing it on a food scale to be precise, but of course, you can eyeball it if you don’t have one. To make the patties the same shape and size, I use a round biscuit cutter, drape it with plastic wrap, pack the salmon into the mold, then transfer it onto a lined baking sheet to chill.
Do I need to chill the salmon burgers before cooking?
Yes, definitely take the time to chill the salmon burger patties before cooking, at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours. The longer the better! This helps them keep their shape when you cook it in the hot pan.
The patties seem loose, is that ok?
Yes, it’s normal. The salmon fish patties may be a little delicate, but just be sure to not skimp on chilling them before cooking, handle them carefully, and they will be fine. If they fall apart in the skillet, use a spatula to reshape them as they cook. Also, a dusting of rice flour right before frying helps to create a nicely seared crust. Corn starch is also a good substitute. Do not use all-purpose flour since it will simply absorb into the fish patty.
How do I know the salmon burgers are done cooking?
Salmon burgers cook quickly, just 3-4 minutes per side. The outside should be firm and with a nice crust, and when you press on it, firm to the touch. The inside will be slightly pink, but mostly firm and moist in the center.
MORE SEAFOOD RECIPES TO TRY
Salmon and Soba Noodle Salad
Pan-Seared Scallops with Warm Asparagus, Kale and Tangerine Salad
Scottish Smoked Salmon Bagel with Scrambled Eggs
Miso Maple Glazed Salmon
Smoked Salmon Phyllo Bites with Wasabi Goat Cheese
Baked Halibut with Olives and Tomatoes
Charred Cedar Planked Salmon with Lemon and Dill by Boulder Locavore
Baked Salmon with Creme Fraiche by FoodieCrush
Disclosure: This post was created in partnership with Alaska Seafood. Thank you for supporting brands that matter to me; sponsored posts such as this help behind the scenes at Kitchen Confidante. All opinions in this post are, as always, my own.
Thai Salmon Burgers
For the salmon burgers
- 1 1/2 lbs Alaskan salmon skinned and deboned
- 3 scallions both green and white parts finely chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons red curry paste
- 2 teaspoons sriracha more or less to taste
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil for cooking
For the sriracha aioli
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha more or less to taste
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the pineapple salsa (optional)
- 1 cup pineapple fine diced
- 3 tablespoons red onion finely diced
- 1 tablespoon scallion finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon serrano pepper finely diced (substitute with jalapeno if you want less spice)
- 1/4 cup cilantro freshly chopped
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon red curry paste
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Make the salmon burgers
- Slice the salmon into 1-inch chunks; it doesn’t have to be perfect since you’ll be finetuning it in the food processor. Take a quarter of the salmon and place it in the food processor. Pulse the salmon until smooth. Add the remaining salmon to the food processor and pulse 3-5 times, taking care to keep the texture of the salmon, you want it to look like coarse ground beef, about 1/4 inch pieces, and not too smooth. Transfer the salmon to a bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix together the scallions, cilantro, mayonnaise, red curry paste, sriracha, and salt. Add to the salmon and mix until well combined.
- Divide the mixture into four equal parts (about 150 g each) and form into patties about 3/4 in thick. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 3 hours.
Make the sriracha aioli
- Stir together the mayonnaise, Sriracha and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Make the pineapple salsa (if making)
- In a large bowl, stir together the pineapple, onion, scallion, serrano (or jalapeno) pepper, cilantro, lime juice, red curry paste, and sesame oil. Keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Cook the salmon burgers
- Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Lightly dust the salmon burger with rice flour and tap off the excess. Place in the skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side.
- Serve the burgers immediately on buns with sriracha aioli, fresh greens, and pineapple salsa (if using).