A Scandi-style salmon burger for spring

Traditional flavors meet a bright preparation for a perfect transitional weather meal

Photo: Daytona Strong The bright flavors of dill, garlic, and tomatoes enliven this Scandi-style salmon sandwich.

Photo: Daytona Strong
The bright flavors of dill, garlic, and tomatoes enliven this Scandi-style salmon sandwich.

Daytona Strong
Taste of Norway Editor

This time of year is always infused with the promise of spring. I cling to the coziness of winter with its soft blankets and warm layers while looking forward to longer days bathed in sunlight. One of the things I anticipate most is the food. I love the colorful produce and the bright flavors inherent in the coming season. But I still crave something substantial, meals that are full of protein and layers of rich flavors. The Scandinavian-style salmon burger I bring you today satisfies on all those levels.

Adapted from the Scandi Salmon Burger with Dill and Tomato Sauce in Diana Henry’s gorgeous A Change of Appetite: Where Healthy Meets Delicious, this sandwich is substantial enough for a meal without being too filling or rich, thanks in part to its open format, a nod to the traditional Scandinavian smørbrød. The flavors are bright and fresh, like a spring breeze. Garlic—while not a common flavor in traditional Scandinavian cooking—makes an appearance as a single small clove flavoring the sauce, and it’s just right to brighten and enliven a dish full of traditional flavors.

I’ve taken the original recipe and reworked it to satisfy my own taste, totally redoing the salmon patties themselves while only slightly tweaking the sauce and the assembly. (The flavorful salmon patties take cues from the salmon cakes in Ashley Rodriguez’s Date Night In cookbook, which I tasted recipes for—if you like these, don’t miss the original recipe in her book.) The result is, in my opinion, just right.

Scandinavian-Style Salmon Burger
Adapted from A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry

Photo: Daytona Strong

Photo: Daytona Strong

The Burger
1 pound salmon fillet
extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped dill
2 tbsps. capers, chopped
2 tbsps. lemon juice

The Sauce
2⁄3 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsps. mayonnaise
1 tbsp. finely chopped dill
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1 small tomato

The Sandwiches
4 slices rye bread
lettuce leaves
thinly-sliced cucumber
dill sprigs
lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a baking dish large enough to hold the salmon. Place salmon inside, skin side down, and brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 10-15 minutes, until almost cooked. Cool to the touch, then cut into flakes, removing any bones and the skin as you go.

While the salmon cools, mix the yogurt, mayonnaise, dill, and garlic for the sauce together in a small bowl, then refrigerate for a while to let the flavors mingle and meld. Seed the tomato and finely chop, discarding any excess juices. Set aside until you’re ready to assemble the sandwiches—you’ll fold the tomatoes into the sauce at the last minute.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add yogurt, mayonnaise, bread crumbs, onion, dill, capers, and lemon juice. Fold in the salmon flakes, then form into four patties, pressing them together as firmly as you can and making a small indentation in the middle to help them cook evenly.

Place the salmon patties on a lightly-oiled baking sheet. Place under a broiler, about two inches from the heating element. Broil for two minutes, then reduce the heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and continue heating until cooked through; this shouldn’t take too long—perhaps 10 minutes?—as the salmon is mostly cooked, but you want to make sure the egg is cooked enough.

When ready to serve, mix the tomatoes into the sauce and then spread some on each slice of bread. Layer on the lettuce and cucumber, then place a salmon patty onto each. Spoon a little more sauce over the patties, and garnish with some more cucumber, sprigs of dill, and lemon wedges.

Serves 4.

Daytona Strong is the Norwegian American Weekly’s Taste of Norway editor. She writes about her family’s Norwegian heritage through the lens of food at her Scandinavian food blog, www.outside-oslo.com. Find her on Facebook www.facebook.com/OutsideOslo; Twitter @daytonastrong; Pinterest @daytonastrong; and Instagram @daytonastrong.

This article originally appeared in the March 4, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.