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Charred Southwest Salmon Burger with Cilantro Pesto

This recipe is inspired by my love of fresh cilantro and lime juice. I have used this pesto as a topping for everything from chicken to vegetables and it always draws rave reviews. The second thing that makes this "burger" unique is that its cooked in a cast iron skillet rather than the grill. Despite my love for BBQ-ing, I have learned that meat which is best served seared (beef and somtimes fish) is always tastier when seared in a cast iron skillet as it is nearly impossible to get a grill hot enough to do the job properly. This "burger" is also VERY heart-healthy since it includes fish, almonds, olive oil, and fresh herbs and vegetables.


Cilantro Pesto
3 Medium sized cubanelle peppers
1 Bunch fresh cilantro, about 3 Cups of mostly leaves loosely packed
2 Cloves of garlic
½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Lime
½ Cup Raw Almonds
2 Teaspoon sugar
1 Teaspoon kosher salt
Salmon Patties
4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Cup finely diced shallots
½ Cup Sutter Home Sauvignon Blanc
¼ Cup fresh squeezed Lime Juice
1 ½ Cup breadcrumbs made from crusty French bread
1 Teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 Teaspoon whole coriander seeds
½ Teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1 pound chilled skinless Salmon fillets
1 Egg beaten
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
4 Soft Kaiser Rolls split


To make the cilantro pesto, remove seeds and membrane from peppers and chop them into uniform pieces. Clean cilantro and cut the top part (mostly leaves) away from the stems. Add peppers and cilantro leaves to the food processor. Using a garlic press, add the 2 cloves of garlic. Add olive oil, juice from lime, almonds, sugar, salt and pepper to the food processor and puree until smooth consistency. Transfer to bowl, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. To make the patties, heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté 4 minutes (or until translucent). Increase heat to medium high and add wine and lemon juice. Cook about 12 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove shallot mixture and refrigerate for about 1 hour. Slice and toast the French bread and then use a food processor to chop into bread crumbs. Heat a small pan on medium heat and add the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. Lightly toast them stirring often for 2 minutes to release the fragrant oils. Immediately grind the seeds using a mortar and pestle. Slice the salmon fillets into thin slices and then chop until it is the texture of ground beef. Add salmon to shallot mixture. Mix in breadcrumbs, egg, ground cumin, coriander and fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Gently form into 4 patties careful not to compact the mixture. Place a cast iron skillet into the oven and heat it to 500 degrees. When oven reaches temperature, remove pan and place on range at high heat. Evenly coat the patties with remaining olive oil and place immediately in the middle of hot, dry pan. Cook one minute without moving. Carefully flip burger and cook another minute, then place skillet back into oven for two minutes. Flip burger and cook for another two minutes. Remove from oven, place burgers on plate and cover loosely with foil to rest. Lightly toast 4 kaiser rolls in toaster oven. To assemble the burgers, place one salmon patty on each roll bottom and top generously with cilantro pesto. Add roll tops and serve.


Please pick my burger!!! I want to open a restaurant with the $50k!!!