Salmon Burger with Tarragon Tartar Sauce

2015-08-05 21.24.47First of all, a small confession.  This is not a “real” tartar sauce recipe.  There are no pickles.  I recently had a very poor experience with a tartar sauce in a “seafood restaurant” that was far too sweet.  It ruined the fish.  So I went a slightly less traditional route with this sauce and it came out splendid.  Vinegar, lemons, capers, and dill ensured that I didn’t lose any of the tang a tartar needs to make it a good mate with fish.  So if you, like me, get tired of how sweet American tartar sauces can get, especially since they tend to include some form of sweet pickle relish, than this is a great alternative.

Now to get on with the recipe.  I adore burgers.  Burgers of all kinds.  Beef burgers, lamb burgers, bison burgers, elk burgers, turkey burgers, burgers stuffed with cheese, even veggie and bean burgers.  I love all children of the hamburger family, especially during grilling season.  Today, I went a slightly healthier route and used the rest of the salmon that I had bought for a different recipe.  Salmon burgers are not only healthier than a regular beef patty, they also have a completely different flavor profile.  While the perfect beef patty just wants some seasoning and a solid sear, salmon requires a little bit more effort.  First of all, it dries out easily.  For this reason we only grind 1/3-1/2 of the salmon and just do a chop on the rest.  This way the patties can hold their shape but stay juicy and moist like salmon should be.

I cooked these burgers in a skillet because I was afraid of them falling apart on the grill.  I got a nice sear on the salmon and it actually worked out quite well.  I would probably use a grill pan if I was going to cook them on a grill.  However you cook them, they still make a perfect healthy summer meal.


  • 1.5 lb salmon
  • 1 T capers
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 T fresh tarragon
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • olive oil (for cooking patties)
  • 5 kaiser rolls (or bun of choice
  • tomato and lettuce for burger toppings
  • tarragon tartar sauce (recipe below)


Start by cutting off around a third of the salmon and putting it through a meat grinder or food processor to turn it into almost a paste consistency.  Chop the rest of the salmon into about 1/4 inch pieces and combine with the ground salmon in a large bowl.

2015-08-05 19.27.41Add the rest of the ingredients, all the way down through the mustard to the bowl and combine thoroughly with your hands.  Form into 5 patties.

2015-08-05 21.09.12Heat a skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat.  Set each patty on the pan.  Cook each side for about 3 minutes.  The outside should be seared, while the inside is still pink and moist.  2015-08-05 21.11.32When the burgers are done, toast the buns on another pan until crispy.  Put the tartar sauce, lettuce, tomato, and patty on the bun and serve immediately.

Tarragon Tartar Sauce

2015-08-05 21.19.14


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp white horseradish
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1 T capers
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 T fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dry dill

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving, to let the flavors marry.  Serve with any fish!

Summer time doesn’t get any better than this. 🙂



  1. cookingtrips · August 7, 2015

    wow that’s yummy ! i’m impressed by the combination of flavors. I usually make tuna patties with a simpler sauce, but i’ll definitely try your salmon version with all the nice condiments you propose here.


    • amanda · August 7, 2015

      Thank you! It is definitely a flavorful burger. You will have to let me know what you think when you try it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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