Mark Bittman's Salmon Burger Recipe & Experiences from Colorado



I've been on the road quite a bit lately, most recently visiting the stunning prodigious landscape of Colorado. Colorado has a particularly gripping effect on me. The sweeping mountain ranges born by the hot brewing molten earth, and the deep chasms between canyons brings to my attention how grand, and precarious life can be out here. There's something quite thrilling about being at the edge of this beautiful part of earth.




On the plane ride to Colorado, I had the great pleasure of meeting an adventure writer, Craig Childs, who was - lucky for me - sitting in the next seat. Childs has authored over a dozen critically acclaimed books detailing impressive adventures to exotic, remote and sometimes dangerous areas. In his most recent book Finder's Keeper: A Tale of Archeological Plunder and Obsession, he reveals how private collectors, driven by curiosity, excitement or greed, take for themselves historical artifacts encountered in native lands. There's an interesting quote that beautifully summarizes the book, "There is a difference between finding and keeping. The two are often lumped together into one action, but there is a blink that comes in between. It is when a thing goes from being its own to being yours." If you are interested, the New York Times wrote a review last month here.  


Through our conversation, Craig suggested that we visit Black Canyon, which is south of Colorado Springs. In the picture above, it may appear that the stone path leads through to the other side of the mountain range, but between the grayish green rock and the warm stone mountain surrounded by pine trees is about a 6,000 foot plunge. Life out here means making friends with nature and the inherent danger that comes with this territory. 



The tension between danger and serenity defines the way of life here, most people here will look at it as harmony. You'll see the idyllic streams bending and hugging around the foot of the mountains here, but then look up and realize that those mighty rocks above you could someday tumble down and potentially take your life. It's a reality that awakens me and is a reminder of how small I am in the grand scheme things.



Most people here have found a way to live in harmony with the rugged and beautiful landscape. The picture above reveals how mineral rich the earth is around here. This particular mountain is likely saturated in iron, which gives it the rusty autumn red color.  


During the trip we enjoyed a wonderful salmon burger recipe at a cafe local to Crested Butte, Colorado. I tried to recreate the delicious burger with Mark Bittman's recipe, which is an excellent recipe. The salmon patty retains some of its meaty texture with a good balance of moisture. Also the addition of shallots, capers and mustard provides a good integration of contrasting fresh flavors.

This is a great recipe for those busy weeknights as the burger can be made within 30 minutes from start to finish.


Mark Bittman's Salmon Burger Recipe
(adapted from Mark Bittman)
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless salmon
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 shallots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup coarse bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Method
  1. Chop the salmon into large chunks, roughly 2-3 inch cubes, and place about a quarter of the salmon into the food processor along with the mustard. Pulse until the mixture becomes pasty.
  2. Toss in the shallots and the balance of the salmon. Pulse until the fish is chopped and combined with the puree. No piece of salmon should be larger than a quarter of an inch however take care to avoid a mixture that is too fine.
  3. Scrape the mixture into a bowl, and fold in the bread crumbs, capers and some salt and pepper. Shape into four burger patties.
  4. Place the butter and oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet, and turn the heat to medium-high. When the butter foam subsides or the oil is hot, cook the burgers for 2 to 3 minutes each side, turning once. Alternatively, you can grill them: let them firm up on the first side, grilling for about 4 minutes, before turning over and finishing for just another minute or two. To check for doneness, make a small cut and peek inside. Be careful not to overcook. Mark Bittman suggests that the burgers are served on a bed of greens or on buns or by themselves, with lemon wedges and Tabasco or any dressing you like.

69 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

BREATHTAKING views! And a delicious recipe :)

Pam said...

Absolutely gorgeous photos!

Angie's Recipes said...

Beautiful landscape pictures! And the salmon burger seems a perfect energy recovery after the mountain climbing!

From the Kitchen said...

Your wonderful photographs and commentary have made for a very enjoyable visit with you this morning. And the salmon burger recipe is equally welcome.

Best,
Bonnie

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Fantastic photos! I know what you mean about Colorado. I visit frequently on business and I'm always amazed at the wide open spaces. Then, when you get up to the Rockies, it is wild and untamed.

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

Gorgeous photos! I've never been to Colorado but I definitely want to visit!

nancy at good food matters said...

Hi Christine--glad you are back-
I know what you mean about that tension between serenity and danger. My husband was mountain biking in the same area near Colorado Springs last month, and took a nasty spill--3 broken ribs!

You can usually count on a Mark Bittman recipe to be excellent--and this salmon burger is a perfect reminder.

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

Beautiful photos! I've never been to Colorado, but it's on my "list!" :-) How fun that you got to talk to Craig Childs on the plane ride! His books sound very interesting!

Glad you successfully recreated the salmon burger. I think bringing back recipe inspirations and ideas is one of the great joys of traveling.

Mari said...

Wonderful Scenery! Great and original burger recipe.

Have a great Sunday :)

Lea Ann said...

Colorado is indeed a beautiful place and I feel so lucky to live where a vacation and beautiful scenery is in my back yard. Great photos. Black Canyon of the Gunnison is amazing. Can you believe I've lived here for close to 30 years and have never been to Crested Butte?????

TKW said...

I'm glad you had a great trip! I hope that the next time you come to the Rockies, you can head over my way! Gorgeous photos!

Gloria said...

what lovely pictures!! Really nice! And I love your salmon burger recipe! x gloria

A Year on the Grill said...

Beautiful photos... i think last plane ride I sat next to the crying baby of an adventure writer.
What a fortunate seat assignment on many levels

alison said...

beautiful places,your pics are awesome!
and the burger salmon recipe is great!

Catherine said...

Incredible pictures!
This salmon burger looks incredible also! Just looking at it makes me hungry! I am going to try this soon!

bellini valli said...

At the Food & Wine Writers Conference I won a copy of one of Mark Bittmans cookbooks. I look forward to recreating some of his recipes if they are as tasty as this.

Belinda @zomppa said...

Great photos!! I would love a big burger.

Stella said...

What a beautiful place, Christine. And, yes, it seems somewhat dangerous too despite all of the beauty. I'm glad you're having a nice time there. I've wanted to visit Colorado for a while now...
Oh, and I've never even seen a processed, fresh salmon burger. It sounds very delicious!

Emily said...

I was just in Colorado last fall for a conference, and it was gorgeous! I'd love to move out west someday. Great photos!

5 Star Foodie said...

Beautiful landscapes in Colorado! And the salmon burger sure looks scrumptious!

maybelle's mom said...

what lovely land, and pictures.

Katie@Cozydelicious said...

Such beautiful photos. Amazing landscape! And your burger looks lovely too. Capers are one of the few foods I just can't stand - do you think the burgers would still be tasty without them? Or maybe I could sub in some sun-dried tomato for a different flavor?

Fresh Local and Best said...

Thank you for your kind comments everyone!

Katie - I think that this recipe would work just fine without capers. I actually barely noticed it, so if you don't have it on hand or do not enjoy capers, it would be fine to omit it.

Kim said...

Christine- Colorado is a stunning place to visit. The natural beauty is astonishing and you captured it so well with your pictures.

I love that you were inspired to create the salmon burger at home. The flavors in the salmon burger are so clean and fresh. It looks like a wonderful recipe.

sophia said...

I've never even considered visiting a "forsaken" place like Colorado until now. Gosh. Stunning. And how cool it is that you got to sit next to an adventure writer!! did you recognize him, or realized he was one after chit-chatting with him?

Heavenly Housewife said...

Absolutely beautiful pictures :)
I am always trying to recreate delicious foods that I've tried on my travels, and this salmon burger looks really wonderful.
*kisses* HH

Barbara said...

Colorado is a beautiful state and your photos have done it justice, Christine!
Serendipity to have met Craig Childs as well and had the opportunity to visit Black Canyon.

My mother always made a salmon loaf but I like the idea of the salmon patties better and the flavors are much improved over mother's old recipe!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Colorado is beautiful Christine. Your photos are gorgeous. The salmon burger sounds delicious. I can always count on Mark Bittman's recipes.
Sam

Penny said...

My husband is on his way to Colorado on a motorcycle trip. Will have to tell him about this place. Beautiful pictures and great looking Salmon. Mark Bittman is the best.

Phoo-D said...

I love Colorado. It looks like you found several stunning places to explore! How cool to meet Craig Childs on the plane!

Betty Ray said...

Your pictures are beautiful!! And that burger looks yummy too. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

Victoria K. said...

I've had salmon cakes, but never a salmon burger. I'm intrigued, though! I bet it tastes fantastic :)

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

What gorgeous, breath-taking scenery, Christine! I love Colorado. We haven't been there since our daughter attended university in Boulder.

The salmon burger looks delicious and I love the ingredients. A must try!

El said...

It sounds like you were in good company for the plane ride. The places you visited in Colorado look lovely. The burger looks good too!

Lori said...

It's such great luck when you end up with a knowledgeable and helpful seat-mate! The photos are stunning! And I can always go for a delicious salmon burger.

Fresh Local and Best said...

Thanks everyone for your kind comments. It was quite fortuitous for me to meet Craig Childs, who I think has one of the most interesting perspectives in life.

Sophia - to answer your question. I did not know who Craig Childs was when I met and spoke with him. This is one of the best experiences in life, to meet people and discover each person's admirable characteristics over time. Only in this case, I googled him when I returned home from the trip and found that there was a lot more to his modest answer to what he does for a living. There's a really quirky quote that Craig says of a gigantic rock that is hanging above his family's house, “One day the rock will crush this house. Strangely, this brings my wife and me pleasure.” (NY Times, 12/27/07) I know this is not for everyone, but I find it amusing and on some levels understand it.

Magic of Spice said...

What stunning photos and I love this recipe :) Wonderful travels...

Pushpa said...

Beautiful pictures and the salmon burger looks delicious.

Pushpa @ simplehomefood.com

cocinadiary said...

I love this post so much! My fiance is from Colorado and that is where I am heading next year to live. Every time I visit this blessed state, I feel this amazing connection to God. The scenery is so visually stunning that it actually gets me teary eye every time. Thank you again for posting this...and the burgers look amazing also! :) angie

theUngourmet said...

Such a beautiful post! Colorado is one of my most favorite places in the US. Your photos are terrific and the salmon burger looks amazing as well. Glad you had a nice time!

saltyseattle said...

I actually feel like I went with you! The only thing I'm missing is a big juicy bite of that salmon burger...

Sally - My Custard Pie said...

Wow - I have 2 lots of friends who live in Colorado. After seeing your pics I think I should plan a visit!

~Lisa~ said...

I would love to visit Colorado. Stunning photos. And what a great plane ride to be able to converse with a writer and get some great tips on where to go. Thanks for voting Christine! I really appreciate it. And those burgers look fantastic. I love salmon.

Nirmala said...

Great pictures. I love Mark Bittman's recipes too.

redmenace said...

What a wonderful trip and how fantastic that you were sitting next to an adventure writer! I'm sure he felt very lucky too :) Great recipe. I love Bittman! xo

Joanne said...

Colorado looks absolutely breathtaking! It sounds like you've been a real globetrotter lately, missy. :P

Well thanks for sharing these salmon patties with us, they sound glorious!

Foodessa said...

Christine...I do so enjoy salmon patties. I however, appreciate nature's scenery even more...especially the one with the running waters...I could spend a whole day staring and getting lost in it. Alright, back to reality ;o)

Beautiful captures!

Ciao for now,
Claudia

lostpastremembered said...

Beautiful homage to a heavenly spot. I haven't been there since I was a teen (very long time ago) you brought it all back with those photos.. and thanks for telling us about this writer... great book! Now, onto the salmon... how great that the color matches the landscape!

A Canadian Foodie said...

I adore salmon, but detest salmon patties of any kind. Weird. But, your photos of nature are stunning and this was a great read, Christine.
:)
Valerie

Ingrid De Villiers said...

Dear Christine
What lovely photographs! Colorado has the same gripping effect on me too..... :) The burger looks delicious....will try it some time soon!
I :)

Ken Albala said...

ooh,I needs to go to Colorado. Or get some salmon and make another dinner. Lovely.

Kelsey said...

best salmon burger ive ever seen!! <3 <3 YUM YUM

Debinhawaii said...

Gorgeous photos and that salmon cake looks perfect. Lucky! I never get "celebrity" seat mates on planes! ;-)

Debinhawaii said...

Gorgeous photos and that salmon cake looks perfect. Lucky! I never get "celebrity" seat mates on planes! ;-)

doggybloggy said...

are you ever not amazing?

Lori Lynn said...

Breathtaking photos Christine! I lived in Aspen in the late 70's, love seeing photos of Colorado. The salmon burger doesn't sound too shabby either.
Safe Travels,
LL

Claudia said...

After that stunning and exhausting hike, I'd eat anything but would be particularly happy if it was as grand as that salmon burger. Colorado does take one's breath away.

sweetlife said...

what views, how beautiful..i can imagine how lovely the air was there...ahhh
perfect recreation...glad your back

sweetlife

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lisaiscooking said...

Just beautiful shots, and I'm so jealous: I never sit next to anyone interesting on an airplane! The salmon burger looks fantastic. Now, I want to make these soon!

Jamie said...

Breathtaking! I have dreamed of visiting this area of the US and you have simply whet my appetite. Gorgeous. My husband is an archeology freak and is fascinated by this area for that reason as well. I must buy him this book. Great recipes! Better than my mom's...

Fresh Local and Best said...

Lisa - You'll probably never want to sit next to me or around me for that matter, because I will totally pester the next person for a conversation. Many times the conversations are great, and on rare occasions there are people that simply make me want to burn my nose into my book. This was a great encounter, and the conversation certainly made my plane ride feel a lot shorter.

girlichef said...

Stunning! I've never been to Colorado...but it's been on my "wish list" of places to visit for a while now! The salmon burger sounds pretty great, too =)

MaryMoh said...

I have often heard about beautiful Colrado but have not seen the photos. Now I see them....amazing...love it. Would be so fun to walk up those mountains! LOve that salmon burger. I always buy the wild Alaskan burger from Cosco...very delicious. I would love to try and make. Thanks very much for sharing.

Table Talk said...

I find myself wanting to take a vacation after reading your posts. Such beautiful photos. When I used to travel a lot for work I never made it to such scenic destinations...I saw a lot of the airports and hotel rooms!
I will have to give the salmon burger recipe a try---they are popular at out house.

ChefDruck said...

Christine,
These are absolutely stunning images. I especially love the one with the red mountain face. It reminded me of Provence.

Thanks for sharing the salmon burger recipe. Could be yummy with the last of the summer tomatoes and some fresh avocado.

Vanessa

A SPICY PERSPECTIVE said...

I love you photos and the way you describe Colorado. I miss it terribly! The burgers look delish!

tasteofbeirut said...

I loved the way you describe Colorado and the "life on the edge of danger and serenity" description sums it up very well ; how thrilling to meet this author, he sounds very interesting and I will look into his oeuvres. The photos are just stunning and the grand finale with that salmon burger very fitting!

Diana Bauman said...

Christine,this was beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing the landscape of the black canyon. It's made it on my list of places I'd like to visit. So funny to, Jenny from the Nourished Kitchen is from Crested Butte Colorado. Beautifully written my friend!