Yes, it’s slightly out of focus, but by the time I realized that, I’d eaten the prop

Saturday’s sandwich is actually going to be Sunday’s because I spent most of yesterday at a local lovely cooking store doing demonstrations of various pasta-making equipment.  Which gave rise to an inspiration for Sunday dinner plus leftovers, which as we know is one of many wonderful reasons Sunday was invented.

Canned salmon.  It’s everywhere these days.  I succumbed to its allure at Costco.  Based largely on price vs. thing, I figured, what the heck; I could think of something to do with 4 cans of it.

Friends, at first I was disappointed.  I opened a can with the intent to make a pasta dish.  I sautéd some onions and garlic, then deglazed with some white wine.  I added the canned salmon (a disappointing pale-ish color), along with some capers.  Pasta was cooking, and when done I tonged it into the skillet along with the salmon mixture, and added a good ladleful of pasta  water followed by a generous squeeze of fresh lemon.  Bland.  Disappointingly bland.  And odd texture to the salmon.  Blah.  The capers didn’t even perk it up.  Worse, neither did the lemon.

Food bank time?  I have some remaining cans that are either going to be donated (where I’ve seen a significant number of then turn up, perhaps not surprisingly) or used here at home.  But I’m not ready to give up yet.  I love a use-it-up challenge.

I started thinking salmon burgers.  Add some celery for a satisfying crunch, bind it with some egg and Panko.  Use a tried-and-true tartar sauce, and I may have some more dinners tucked away in my pantry.  And my refrigerator.  Being a solitary cook, I wrapped the other burger in plastic and stored it away for dinner tomorrow night.  It wouldn’t be a good idea to freeze it because of the fresh celery.  I fried it up nice and crispy on both sides (turn it gently, but by the time it’s done on the second side, it will be perfectly firm throughout), slathered a toasted bun with tartar sauce and added some red onion.  My friends, it was absolutely heavenly.  Every single bite.  Sorry, food bank.  The rest is mine.  

Alternatively, serve the burgers over a salad of greens, red onion, avocado, and tomatoes, all tossed with a lemony vinaigrette.


Makes 2 single-serving patties, or 4 to 6 sliders

6 ounce can wild Alaskan salmon

1 stalk celery, very fine dice

1/2 cup Panko

2 large eggs

Sea or kosher salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Olive oil

  1. Open can of salmon and drain well.  Transfer to a mixing bowl.  Add the celery, Panko, and eggs.  Break up chunks of salmon and stir to blend everything together.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in red pepper flakes, too.  Set aside for Panko to hydrate while you prepare the tartar sauce (below).
  2. Use your hands to shape into whichever size patties you wish:  conventional burger-sized, or smaller for sliders.
  3. Warm a skillet filmed with olive oil over medium heat.  When hot, add your patties.  Fry until each size is nicely crisped, about 4 minutes per side.
  4. If serving as burgers, preheat broiler and toast buns to a golden brown.
  5. When done, remove burgers to buns.  Garnish with curls of red onion, and serve with My Sister’s Famous (Well We Love It) Tartar Sauce.


Makes 3/4 cup

My sister has been making this for many years.  The first time I tasted it, I knew I’d never so much as glance at pickle-based tartar sauce ever again.

1/2 cup mayonnaise (or if you want to reduce the fat content, use Greek yogurt)

Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely minced

1/4 yellow onion, very finely diced

Sea or kosher salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together in a mixing bowl.  Refrigerate leftovers.  Also excellent as a dip for French fries.


Makes about 1 cup

Zest and juice of 1 lemon (should equal about 2 ounces, so use more if needed)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

6 ounces extra-virgin olive oil

Sea or kosher salt and pepper to taste

Whisk lemon juice and zest together with mustard and garlic.  Add olive oil in a slow, steady stream.  Does your bowl spin around while you do this?  Set it on a kitchen towel or hot pad, and it won’t.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Store in refrigerator, then bring to room temp before using.


About thesolitarycook

I'm a chef, a cook, a teacher, a reader, a writer, a bike-rider, a dog- and cat-woman
This entry was posted in Condiments, Entrées, Fish, Hors d'oeuvres, RECIPES, Salads, Sandwiches, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Karen Rush says:

    What a delightful blog entry… and another uncanny parallel for me. On Friday my mother was telling me about her ghastly day. She tried to make her famous salmon rissoles and it turned out badly. She couldn’t remember the recipe. Another loss for one who is 88 years old, almost blind and deaf and who was such a legendary cook. Yesterday I had to go to the supermarket for the odd cleaning item and while there I threw 3 cans of red Alaskan salmon into the trolley with the intention of trying to replicate Mum’s yearned-for salmon rissoles. Tonight I had intended to make them. On the other hand, I love your recipe and might make them for my mother that instead. Either way I shall cook with a distinct feeling that you are standing there at my elbow.

    • Well that is uncanny! I feel for your mother greatly. My father went through much the same process. It was so difficult to watch him lose parts of his abilities. Difficult because it frustrated and confused him so. I would love to see your mother’s rissoles! Enjoy your evening.

  2. Oh my word! what an incredible looking sandwich… I really want one. I adore a good sandwich…

  3. ldpw says:

    Wow, this sounds heavenly. The lemony vinaigrette is my favorite part to be honest.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s