By now, we’ve taken you on a few behind-the-test-kitchen tours of Plated favorite recipes, showing you how a recipe was dreamt up, why it changed, and what that means for you when cooking your Plated meal. There was the White Bean Chili, the vegetarian answer to a comforting winter classic; the restaurant-inspired Cauliflower Carbonara, with creamy, bacon-studded sauce; and the unforgettable Thanksgiving Cheeseburger that nailed all the glorious flavors of T-Day in one drool-worthy sandwich.
This time, you’re getting a look behind the tiny (important) testing tweaks we made to a recipe that actually comes from an entire lineage of Plated favorites. Behold: Curried Salmon Burgers with Raita and Caramelized Cauliflower, hitting boxes the week of February 20.
You could say that salmon (particularly in burger form) is a bit of a muse for our chefs—the rich, perfectly flake-able fish creates a fun blank canvas for the countless flavor combinations we dream up. While our regular (read: beef) burgers are formed with seasoning, spices, and herbs, and generally hold together on their own, other kinds of protein often need help in the binding department—think adding an egg to meatloaf or breadcrumbs to meatballs.
We source special pre-cut salmon for these burgers, working with our Procurement team to ensure that the pieces are the right size for the both heft and chew. Too-large chunks might fall apart in the pan when the patties are seared, or in your hands when it’s time to chow down. Too tiny of a grind means the patties can get overly-packed and take on an unsatisfying, dense texture.
Just about every cuisine is based on flavors and cooking methods that we’ve found to be extremely agreeable for a juicy salmon burger. Here’s a look back at the past recipes that made this one possible:
MEET THE FAMILY
Japanese: Ginger-Scallion Salmon Burgers
Salmon is already a much-beloved fish in Japanese cuisine—starring in everything from nigiri to teriyaki—so we knew it’d play well with scallion, ginger, and soy. Served on toasted brioche buns, these burgers were finished with a swipe of creamy Sriracha aioli and a crunchy cabbage slaw spiked with more scallion.
American: Barbecue Salmon Burgers
Summer’s prime time for all things grilling, but even we get a little tired of the same ol’ hamburgers and hot dogs at every party. So we were thrilled to stumble upon a hit mashup of tender chopped salmon, barbecue sauce, and tangy Dijon mustard. Since the salmon is so delicate, we opted not to toss the patties on a grill. Instead, they were pan-seared to a perfect golden brown—and served with a side of creamy potato salad, of course.
French: Salmon Burgers with Chive Aioli
It’s no secret that fatty salmon tastes great with a little acidity. We packed these patties with chopped capers, a hint of grated horseradish, and a good swipe of chive aioli. The balance of creamy, briny, rich, and buttery (hello again, toasted brioche!) needed nothing more than a side of baby lettuces in a simple red wine vinaigrette.
Indian: Curried Salmon Cakes with Spaghetti Squash
Okay, so this is obviously not truly a burger recipe, but these little cakes can totally be considered mini burgers—stay with us here. Ground salmon was blended with scallion, mayonnaise, and curry powder, then pan-seared and piled atop strands of roasted spaghetti squash, tossed with garlic and wilted spinach, for a different texture and bite. In terms of flavor, this was the most direct inspiration for…
THE NEW ADDITION
Chef Suzanne first wrote this recipe with minced ginger and scallion in the patties, along with Madras curry powder for a spicier red tinge. Atop our trusty brioche buns, they’d get a dollop of Indian raita, a creamy, yogurt-based condiment with cool cucumber.
The side of steamed cauliflower was originally sautéed in more ginger and ghee, an Indian form of clarified butter that has been slowly cooked until all moisture has evaporated and milk solids have toasted, resulting in a nutty, caramel-like flavor. After the first round of testing, our chefs realized they loved the tender yet still crunchy texture of the cauliflower, but wanted a deeper, sweeter flavor to pair with the balanced burger flavors. They tweaked the recipe very slightly, to sauté the florets in ghee, steam them with a splash of water to cook through a bit more, then get a good caramelization on the outsides over high heat. Dark brown sugar, added at the start with the ghee and ginger, makes this fast, easy, and incredibly delicious.