Summer Favorites

Summer Salmon Burgers

Salmon burgers are my go-to when I’m looking for something easy, delicious, and light on a warm summer day. You could use all fresh salmon here instead of the fresh and smoked combination but don’t – it’s the addition of the smoked salmon that really sets this recipe apart. The salmon, lemon, and Green Goddess combination is just glorious.

1 1/2 pounds raw salmon fillet, skin removed
4 ounces cold smoked salmon
3 tbsp fresh chives, minced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 large pinch of cayenne

Cut the salmon fillet into large chunks.

Put the salmon into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the smoked salmon, breaking it apart as you add it. Pulse the machine until the salmon is well chopped but still retains some texture. You don’t want to over-process it. Remove the mixture to a bowl and mix in the minced chives, olive oil, salt, Dijon, lemon juice, lemon zest, and cayenne.

Form into 6 patties. I use a half-cup measure.

Cook the burgers over medium to high heat until done in the center. An instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the burger should read 145°F. Salmon burgers do not take very long to cook.

Serve your burgers on brioche buns with Green Goddess Dressing and your favorite toppings. I like mine with tomatoes and arugula.

Lemon Couscous Salad 

This couscous salad, not to be confused with my Springtime Couscous Salad, requires a lot less effort. Depending on my energy level, I may or may not add whatever additional veggies happen to be in the refrigerator. I’ve even been known to use bottled dressing, but let’s keep that between us.

1 organic Meyer lemon
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp chicken-flavored Better Than Bouillon 
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
10 oz plain couscous (I use the Near East brand)
Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
Handful of baby asparagus stalks
1 large cucumber, peeled and diced
1 small yellow pepper, diced
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
2/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted*
3 ounces crumbled feta cheese

Instructions to make the dressing:
Remove the ends of a cleaned and dried Meyer lemon. Cut it into quarters and remove any seeds. Put the lemon quarters into a blender. Yes, the whole lemon. Add olive oil, salt, and sugar, and starting on low, blend the dressing. Slowly increase the speed to high and blend until smooth and you don't see any chunks of lemon rind. Taste the dressing to adjust the salt or sugar. Transfer to a jar and use right away or refrigerate until needed. You can make it ahead of time, but bring it back to room temperature before using.

Instructions to make the salad:
In a medium saucepan add 1 2/3 cups water, Better than Bouillon, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Bring to a boil, then add the couscous, stir, and take the pan off the heat. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Then add the lemon zest and fluff the whole pan gently with a fork to separate the grains.

Add the couscous to a large salad bowl and gently toss with a little bit of the lemon dressing. The warm couscous will absorb that flavor. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

Prepare the asparagus by lightly blanching (or microwaving) and chopping into 1-inch pieces.

Add more dressing to the couscous and toss with the asparagus, cucumbers, peppers, and onions. Serve topped with almonds and crumbled feta cheese. The dressing recipe makes more than you’ll need, so just add enough to flavor the salad. You don’t want to drown it.

***To toast almonds put them on a piece of parchment paper in the microwave and microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes until golden. 

Green Goddess Dressing: 
According to the internet, the world is full of people who do not put anchovies in their Green Goddess Dressing. I find this inexplicable and sad.

1 cup parsley, packed
1 cup watercress, packed
1/3 cup chives, trimmed
2 tbsp chopped tarragon
2 tbsp chopped dill
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled
4 anchovies
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the herbs, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and anchovies into a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the machine a couple of times, as necessary.

Add the mayo and process briefly to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Adjust any of the other ingredients and process to blend.

Put the dressing in an airtight container and refrigerate until needed. Use on everything.