Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cilantro-Lime Salmon Burgers

I'm having a bit of a moral dilemma these days with Caroline.  She seems to have made the connection that we eat animals, and she is not happy about it.  It all started with one of baby Smith's teething toys.  He has one that's shaped like a fish, and one day as he was chewing on it, we had this conversation:

Caroline:  Baby Smith!  You silly baby boy - we don't eat fish!
Me:  Caroline, we do eat fish.  We ate salmon last night
Caroline:  Mommy, that's so silly.  Salmon's not fish.
Me:  Yes it is.
Caroline: (now getting upset).  No mommy, we don't eat fish that swim in the oceans and rivers.
Me:  Yes, Caroline, we do.
Caroline:  (now crying)  No!  We only eat fish from the grocery store!

 I am so touched and moved that she is so passionate and convicted, but I also don't want to count out an entire food group for her just yet.  I tried to explain the circle of life, but I think I only made it worse because then she realized that we also eat chickens, cows, and pigs.  Even though I mostly only buy organic, free range, wild-caught, etc, she doesn't see the distinction and wants no part of it.  Luckily, we eat vegetarian a good bit, so it's only been an issue a few times during dinner.  She hasn't wanted to eat beef, since the cow is her favorite animal.  Or crab, since it's her favorite "fish." I'm still at a bit of a loss about what to do and how to handle it, but so far I've just told her what we're having for dinner and then let her decide.  That's the thing about parenting - it's totally on the job training.

And now to move on to the recipe, I'll talk about these burgers!  Caroline did actually eat these.  One of the biggest complaints I hear about salmon is that wild-caught salmon (which IMO is the only kind worth buying!) is too expensive.  Yes, it is pricey, but the great thing about this recipe is that one pound of salmon makes four servings.  So it's definitely a more affordable option if you want to get those omega fatty acids!

And it's no wonder that these were such a hit with the whole family - they are full of all of our favorite things:  cilantro, lime juice, jalapeños... a quick cilantro lime yogurt sauce adds a cool creaminess, and topping with avocado and extra hot sauce amps up the flavor even more.  These were quick and easy, and a fun new way to eat salmon.  And a fun new burger to add to my repertoire.  Since apparently cows are off the menu for a while ;-)

Cilatnro-Lime Salmon Burgers
adapted from Cooking Light, May 2009

  • 1 lb salmon, skim removed 
  • 1 Tbs greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, minced
  • 2 Tbs chopped green onion (about 2 scallions)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • dash of hot sauce
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 Tbs vegetable oil
Cilantro-Lime Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt (low fat or fat free is fine)
  • 2 Tbs lime juice
  • 2 Tbs chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper
  • a few dashes of hot sauce
To serve:
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • handful of spinach leave or lettuce leaves, rinses
  • 4 burger buns, split and toasted
  • hot sauce, for passing at the table
Chop the salmon into 1-2 inch chunks, and transfer it to a food processor.  Add the greek yogurt, cilantro, lime juice and zest, bread crumbs, garlic, jalapeño, green onion, salt and pepper, and hot sauce.  Pulse several times to chop the salmon into small pieces and combine with the other ingredients. 

Form the mixture into 4 equal-sized patties, each about 3/4-inch thick.  Chill at least 30 minutes, or for up to several hours.

Meanwhile, whisk together all the ingredients for the cilantro-lime sauce.  Cover and chill until ready to use.

Heat the oil in a nonstick (or cast iron) skillet over medium high heat.  Carefully place the burgers in the skillet and cook 2 minutes.  Flip, then cook an additional 2 minutes.

Serve each burgers on a toasted bun with spinach, the cilantro-lime juice, and sliced avocado.  Pass the hot sauce at the table for serving.


Made in Sonoma said...

That is sweet about Caroline.

Next time my dad catches salmon, I have to remember these!

Jill (JBean Cuisine) said...

These look amazing and are going on the menu for this weekend.

Caroline is one smart girl and although it is a parenting challenge, I am sure it'll all work out. She is so sweet!

Michelle said...

I am dreading this realization with Evie. These look good and I am not a fan of fish burgers.

Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking said...

What an interesting realization for Caroline to come to! Hopefully you can all move past it and she can become comfortable with fish and meat again soon. Thanks for sharing this great recipe, Josie. These burgers look delicious and healthy!

Kelsey said...

Just one more reason I think Caroline is so, so smart--gifted children are often inordinately compassionate about causes at a very young age. Poor thing. It breaks my heart to think of her getting so upset so quickly.

These burgers do look absolutely delicious. Michael and I love all these flavors, as well. Plus, wild King salmon is on special at my favorite fish market. I'm thinking these will go on the menu for the weekend!

Joanne said...

I'm probably not exactly the right person to be chiming in given my vegetarian status, but my sister went through a similar phase like this. My mom just kind of went along with it and eventually Dana started wanting to eat meat again when she realized that meat dishes were some of her favorite foods. I think you're doing the right thing by offering her options and not just forcing her to eat it! These salmon burgers sound SO GOOD. Love that cilantro lime combo.

Anonymous said...

Caroline is such a dear! Luckily, I think your meat dishes are too delicious for her to start refusing to eat them ;)

ErinsFoodFiles said...

Oh my, what a sweet story! It's somewhat heartbreaking. :(

Side note... these burgers sound delicious!

BMK said...

Smart little girl! Those issue are always difficult. I wasn't sure what to say when my little one asked me how does the pig make the pork chop. These look delicious. Can't wait to try them.

Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen said...

When I was a kid I went through the same phase, quite a few times. I'd decide I was a vegetarian, it would last for 2 or 3 days, and then I'd quit (much to my mom's relief.) When I was 16 it finally stuck, and I didn't eat meat for 5 years. I loooove meat now, but this story definitely brings me back to childhood when I was just like Caroline.

I can see why she ate these though - they look delicious!

Julie @ Table for Two said...

haha, hilarious convo we had about this last night!! so much fun! :) xoxo..btw, LOVE salmon burgers, what a great way to eat fish in a different way!

Melanie @ Just Some Salt and Pepper said...

These look great! I did the same thing as a little girl. I wouldn't eat meat...I grew out of it. But for a while my family thought I was going to be a vegetarian. And in a family of total meat eaters, that was a scary thought lol.

amanda @ fake ginger said...

Aww, that's really awesome that she's realized it and has real opinions on it. My kids understand that the food comes from animals but haven't had issues with it yet. Typical men... :P

The burgers look fantastic though! I've been trying to eat more salmon lately but I get SO bored with it. I'm looking forward to trying these!

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Shawn @ I Wash...You Dry said...

I'm not sure if my kids have made the connection yet, but if they did and had a problem, I would just tell them that God put animals on Earth for us to use them. But these Salmon Burgers look delish! YuM!

Maria said...

Great burger for summer!

Ari said...

Love salmon burgers! Will have to bust out the grill for this one.

Mom said...

If you remember, your cousin Marisa came to the same conclusions at age four, and has not eaten meat since!

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Anonymous said...

I made these for dinner last night, along with some sweet potato tots. They were awesome! And surprisingly filling.

Great recipe!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure of my children has also established contact, but, if they do this, there is a problem, I can just tell them, god will the earth's animal to we use them. But these salmon hamburger looks delish! Yum!

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