# 205 Celebrating Salmon

Double Salmon Tartare Burgers

This recipe was reprinted with permission from The Burger Bar Cookbook written by Hubert Keller and published by John Wiley & Sons (published April, 2009)

In this recipe, I’ve combined fresh and smoked salmon with traditional tartare ingredients. The patties are very quickly seared on both sides for color and flavor but the insides should remain nearly uncooked. The sharp, pickled, and savory flavors of the tartare mix add complexity and moistness to the burgers. The silky, flavorful mayonnaise-style dressing makes a terrific all-purpose sauce that goes very well with beef, chicken, and turkey burgers as well as a dip for French Fries. And yes, I do mean four egg yolks in the dressing. They give the sauce an amazing richness. It can also be made with two yolks and the same amount of oil. These burger patties are somewhat delicate. If you grill them, do so on a grate meant for cooking delicate items.

Serves 4

Tartare Dressing

4 large egg yolks, pastuerized
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons hot sauce such as Tabasco sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce


14 ounces skinless salmon fillet, chilled
6 ounces smoked salmon, chilled
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 heaping tablespoon capers, drained and roughly chopped
1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped cornichons
2 teaspoons finely chopped tarragon
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons Tartare dressing
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tart green apple, unpeeled
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 slices dark rye bread or rolls
2 to 3 large handfuls watercress

To make the dressing, in a food processor put the egg yolks, mustard, ketchup, hot sauce, and a good pinch of salt. Turn on the machine and begin adding the oil, at first drop by drop, increasing to a slow stream as the mixture forms an emulsion. Pulse in the Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Scrape the tartare dressing into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed. The sauce can be made a day ahead and kept, refrigerated. Makes about 1 1/2 cups dressing.

To make the burgers in a food processor, put the shallot, capers, cornichons, tarragon, and parsley in the work bowl and process until finely chopped. Cut the fish into 1-inch cubes, add them to the work bowl, and chop with quick pulses, scraping down the sides as necessary. Stop when you still have texture; you want to chop the fish, not puree it. Pulse in the 2 tablespoons tartare dressing and pepper to taste.

Divide the fish mixture into 4 equal portions and shape into patties about 1 inch thick. Wrap well and refrigerate at least 30 minutes to let the flavors develop and as long as several hours before cooking.

Halve and core the apple. Cut the halves crosswise into very thin slices. Toss them in a bowl with the lemon juice to prevent discoloration and set aside until needed.

When ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until very hot or build a medium-hot fire in a barbecue. Generously season the burgers on both sides with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown on both sides and just cooked through, about 5 minutes total. To grill, oil the grate, and cook the burgers, covered, about 5 minutes. The burgers should have a nice crust but still be moist and barely cooked on the inside.

While the burgers cook, toast the bread in a toaster oven or under the broiler, about 5 inches from the heat. Or toast the slices on the outer perimeter of the grill rack.

To assemble the burgers, spread the toast with some of the tartare dressing. Fan a few slices of apple on 4 slices of the toast. Top with a tuft of watercress and then the burgers. Spoon a little of the remaining mayonnaise dressing onto the side of each plate, close with the remaining toast, and serve immediately.

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Copyright © 2009 Hubert Keller. All rights reserved.