Aug 26, 2010
Salmon Burger, White Spot Style
Makes 4 burgers
White Spot restaurants are a fixture in British Columbia, known for their excellent old-fashioned hamburgers. In recent years they’ve gone a bit upscale, adding more gourmet fare to their classic dishes, including a phenomenal salmon burger. Executive chef Chuck Curry likes to play his recipes close to the chest so I’ve had to recreate this dish based on my experience of eating it, but this comes pretty close to the real thing. If you don’t have the time or the inclination to make the aïoli, substitute with regular commercial mayo doctored with finely chopped fresh basil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
For the burgers:
4 8 oz | 250 g boneless, skinless wild BC salmon fillets (farmed salmon will do, but it’s just not as good)
freshly ground black pepper
1 large, fresh, perfectly ripe beefsteak tomato
1 red onion
green leaf lettuce
4 large sesame burger buns
For the basil aïoli:
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp | 25 mL lemon juice
11/4 cups | 300 mL extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup | 50 mL tightly packed fresh basil leaves
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine the egg yolks and the lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor; process the mixture for 5 seconds. With the machine running, drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream, processing until the mixture is combined. Coarsely chop the basil and add it to the mixture. Whiz the machine again until the basil is incorporated into the aïoli. Season it with salt and pepper and set it aside. It will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Cut the tomato into four equal slices and peel and thinly slice enough onion to suit your taste. Butter the buns and set them aside.
Prepare the grill for medium direct heat. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and drizzle them with a little olive oil. Make sure the cooking grate is scrubbed clean. In this case, you may want to coat the cooking grate with a little oil just before you put the salmon on. Place the salmon on the grill, cover it, and cook the fish for 3–4 minutes per side, or until the core temperature of the fillet reaches 130˚F | 55˚C.
Take the salmon off the grill and loosely tent it with foil. While the salmon is resting, place the buns, buttered side down, on the cooking grate, cover the grill, and toast the buns for maybe half a minute, taking care not to burn them.
Slather both sides of each toasted bun with the aïoli. Place the salmon filets in the buns and top them with onion, tomato, and lettuce. Serve the burgers with a cold beer or a glass of crisp, fruity white wine.