Grilled Salmon Burgers with Cream Cheese and Pickled Red Onion

I was craving lox and bagels schmeared with cream cheese, capers, and pickled red onions from this food stand at the SF Ferry Building Farmer’s Market, but I was also craving a salmon burger.  So I thought I’d combine the two into one and created a salmon burger with cream cheese.  It was the perfect compromise :)

Grilled Salmon Burgers with Cream Cheese and Pickled Red Onion (pickled red onion adapted from Rick Bayless’ Authentic Mexican)

1 1/2 pounds fresh wild salmon, skinned
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 large tomato, sliced
1/2 cup cream cheese
2 tablespoons capers
4 crusty, hamburger buns, lightly toasted
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat outdoor grill to medium high heat. [You can also cook this indoors on a skillet.]

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and capers. Mix thoroughly, and set aside.

Blanch sliced red onions in a small saucepan of boiling water (enough to cover the onions) for about 30 seconds, and drain in a colander.

Return them to the saucepan, and add the cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, and just enough cold water to cover the onions.  Bring to a boil over high heat and simmer the onions for 1 minute.

Transfer the onions and brine to a glass jar and chill.  The onions will turn pink and will get crisp as they cool.  This can be stored in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.  [This process can be done a few days ahead if pressed for time.]

Finely chop the salmon into 1/4-inch dices and place into a medium size mixing bowl. Add to it the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly to combine. Form 4 patties, and drizzle each with extra virgin olive oil. Flip and repeat. [I prefer the chunkier texture of salmon. Conversely, you could also cut the salmon into large chunks and throw it into a food processor and pulse to a coarse grind meat.]

Cook the burgers for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes or 4 to 5 minutes on each side, for medium or well-done, respectively.

Arrange the burgers with sliced tomatoes, pickled red onions, and caper-cream cheese slathered onto your favorite hamburger bun.

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