I like to bake bread, but I usually leave the sweet treat making to my wife. Instead of making cookies or pumpkin-spiced cupcakes, I thought it would be fun to use the color most affiliated with Halloween as a guide for this week’s recipe.
Salmon is often referred to as a pink fish, but usually it falls into the orange category.
Growing up in California, salmon was a regular fixture on my family’s dinner menu. I tended to hate those meals. My parents broiled it and it often ended up dry and fishy tasting. In my house, though, my 2-and-a-half-year-old loves it. He will eat it grilled, pan-seared, baked or even marinated and served raw over rice.
This week, I opted to make salmon burgers with chipotle tartar sauce and homemade sweet potato fries. Color-coordinated meals can also make dinnertime an easier sell to my little one and although it requires a couple of steps, it is fairly simple. It might not be the most Halloween-themed meal, but it has less sugar than marshmallow ghosts and the leftovers are pretty good cold over salad.
SALMON BURGERS WITH CHIPOTLE TARTAR SAUCE AND SWEET POTATO FRIES
1 pound of salmon, skinned (save the skin for crispy skin chips)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/8 cup fennel fronds, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
Chipotle Tartar Sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons pickles, minced
1 teaspoon pickle juice
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon chipotle powder (can use 1 tbl of chipotle-in-adobo for stronger spice)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 tablespoon fennel fronds, finely chopped
Sweet Potato Fries:
3 medium-to-large sweet potatoes, cut into eighths
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 F and put a sheet tray with a little oil on it (this will be used for your fries), and a cast-iron skillet in the oven while it heats up.
To remove the skin of salmon, put the filet skin-side down on the cutting board and slide a knife between the skin and meat of one corner of the filet. While holding the corner of the skin with your off-hand, gently pull the skin back and forth in a rocking motion while the knife remains at about a 30-degree angle. The movement is in the skin, not the knife. Save the skin to make chips.
Dice the salmon into medium chunks and put one-fourth of the salmon into a food processor with the mustard. Blend until it makes a paste, occasionally scraping the sides down. Add the garlic and remaining salmon and pulse until the mixture is blended but there are still some small pieces of salmon left.
Mix the fennel, panko and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl with the salmon mixture. Once incorporated, form into four burger patties.
Toss the sweet potatoes in oil and salt and pepper. Arrange them on the hot sheet pan of oil with the skin of the salmon sprinkled with salt. The fries will take about 10 minutes to cook depending on how thick they are cut. When they are soft to the touch with a crispy skin, they are finished.
Pull the lightly oiled cast-iron skillet from the oven onto the stove top and place the salmon burgers into it. Cook at high heat to get a nice crust on one side for about 3 minutes. Flip the burgers and return the skillet to the oven for another 4 minutes. Turn over the fries so both sides get crispy.
While the burgers and fries bake in the oven, mix together the tartar ingredients together in a bowl until incorporated.
Remove the burgers and fries from the oven and let the burgers rest for 3 to 5 minutes before serving. The burgers should be medium, if they overcook they will be dry so err on the side of medium-rare when removed from the oven, they will continue to cook while they rest.