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Eat This Now: Wild Halibut Burgers

I love to sink my teeth into a good burger loaded with all the fixings, but my burger of choice is this moist and tender patty made from wild halibut. Even my husband, a loyal beef fan, has described these as “surprisingly satisfying.”

Halibut is very mild tasting, which is great for those who are pickier about fish, but that also means it needs a flavor boost. The collective tang from the Dijon mustard, lemon, and cayenne infuses the halibut with a much-welcomed punch. Even though these burgers are perfectly tasty on their own, that doesn’t stop me from smothering them with a fabulous homemade tartar sauce and some spicy arugula.

This recipe is excerpted from Pamela Salzman‘s debut cookbook, Kitchen Matters: More Than 100 Recipes and Tips to Transform the Way You Cook and Eat — Wholesome, Nourishing, Unforgettable. It’s available now. pamela salzman kitchen matters cookbook

Wild Halibut Burgers

Makes 4-5 patties

1 to 1 1/4 lbs wild halibut fillet, skinless, pin bones removed
1 large egg, or 1/4 c mayonnaise or soy-free Vegenaise
2 T Dijon mustard
1/2 t grated lemon zest
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 c dairy-free panko bread crumbs or certified gluten-free oat flour
1/4 c fresh parsley leaves and tender stems, finely chopped (dill is also nice)
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 T unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil

Accompaniments: toasted buns, arugula, avocado, garlic aioli, or tartar sauce 

1. Cut 1/4 (i.e., about 4 oz) of the halibut into 2-in pieces. Place those pieces in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and add the egg, mustard, lemon zest and juice, and cayenne. Use the pulse button and process just until a paste is made. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

2. Cut the remaining halibut into 1/4-in pieces. Add to the processed halibut mixture.

3. Add the minced shallot, panko, parsley, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper to taste and gently stir until combined. The mixture will seem like a sloppy mess. It’s OK.

4. Line a platter or a baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper so you can get the burgers off the platter easily later. Form the mixture into four or five 4-in-wide, 3/4-in-thick patties. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to 12 hours ahead. (This step helps bind the burgers.)

5. Heat the olive oil in a large, cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat or to 375° on a griddle. Add the patties (in batches, if necessary) and cook until browned on the bottom, 4-5 minutes, adjusting the heat if necessary. Turn and cook until the other side is browned and the patties feel firm in the center, 4-5 minutes. Serve immediately with your desired accompaniments.

For more recipes from Pamela Salzman, go to To buy her new book, go to

Photo: Amy Neunsinger

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