I am as far from being a cook as Kim Kardashian is from being a Nobel Peace Prize winner. So I think it is marvelously ironic that I watch the Food Network religiously, and my sister and I write a blog dedicated to testing and sharing recipes. Given my stunning lack of culinary training, I gravitate toward delicious dishes that are easy enough for a dog to prepare.
Or at least easy enough for a couple of intelligent schnauzers to prepare.
There are two reasons I am excited to share my recipe for E-Z Bake Salmon Burgers: (1) these burgers are supremely healthy and mouth-wateringly, lip-smackingly scrumptious, and (2) YOU CANNOT EFF UP THIS RECIPE. You could be sloppy drunk and still execute this dish with the flawless precision of an Iron Chef. Or you could ask reasonably smart dogs to prepare this recipe, and they will not disappoint you. Oh no. Especially if their names are Schnitzel and Schazam.
Introducing sous chefs, Schazam and Schnitzel.
To demonstrate how easy it is to make these delectable E-Z Bake Salmon Burgers, I invited my schnauzers to serve as my sous chefs. They will show you that even if you do not speak or read English, lack opposable thumbs, or sniff butts as a way to say, ‘Hey, wassup,’ YOU STILL CAN KICK ASS IN THE KITCHEN.
INGREDIENTS (yields 2 servings)
- 5 ounces canned salmon packed in water (Don’t like salmon? Use canned tuna or crab. Or try this recipe with leftover cooked chicken breasts, fish fillets or shrimp, finely chopped. Get creative with the 5-6 ounces of protein you choose.)
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup raw nuts or seeds, chopped (For this demonstration, Schnitzel and Schazam chose a mix of raw pumpkin seeds, or ‘pepitas’, and raw walnuts. It’s worthwhile to also try raw sunflower seeds or raw almonds, Brazil nuts or macadamia nuts.)
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 4 medium mushrooms, finely chopped (I know too many people who do not like mushrooms. If you are among them, leave this ingredient out – it won’t disrupt the flavor profile of this dish. Nothing will disrupt the flavor profile. Not even saw dust.)
- 1 cup almond meal
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Old Bay Seasoning to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil (to grease the baking sheet)
- Two big wedges of lemon (to be served on the plate)
1. Pre-heat your oven (or toaster oven) to 425 degrees. Then generously grease a baking sheet with extra virgin olive oil. If, like Schazam, your arms and hands are covered with hair, might I recommend wearing a rubber glove? Be sure to evenly spread the oil all over the baking sheet as these burgers like to stick.
Schazam, who is more conscientious about sanitary cooking practices than Schnitzel, uses a glove when spreading oil on the baking sheet.
2. Finely chop your onions and mushrooms as Schnitzel is demonstrating here. Do you see how she is focusing all of her attention on the onion as she handles a knife that is the size of her leg? She is like a Samurai with a knife. Never cross her. Toss your chopped vegetables into a very large bowl.
Schnitzel has never met an onion that made her cry or a knife that she couldn’t handle like a skilled surgeon.
3. Add your choice of chopped nuts or seeds to the bowl. Schnitzel is fond of raw pepitas because they remind her of our much-loved Mexican housekeeper, Martha. ‘Pepita’ and ‘hola’ are the only Spanish words Schnitzel knows. Toss your quarter cup of nuts or seeds into the bowl.
Schnitzel carefully measures a mix of pepitas and walnuts, using a rounded quarter-cup for extra nutty crunchiness.
4. Now dump two more items into the bowl: the egg and the canned salmon. Do not drain the salmon! Include the water as well. Schnitzel highly recommends licking the can. No bit of salmon should be left behind. Somewhat selfish, Schnitzel does not invite Schazam to lick the can with her. Bitch.
Schnitzel claims the alpha role when it comes to licking the salmon can.
5. Look at that bowl full of healthy, delicious goodness! Now add the almond meal. Clearly, Schnitzel does not like to delegate responsibility to others. Here, we see her pouring the almond meal into the bowl as Schazam watches, wondering if her involvement began and ended with greasing the baking sheet.
Schnitzel shows Schazam that adding the almond meal is a one-dog job.
6. Add the sea salt and black pepper, and then stir, baby, stir! Make sure all of the ingredients are very well mixed. Schazam recommended using a large, wooden spoon, which is why Schnitzel defiantly insisted on using a small, metal spoon. Naturally, it took Schnitzel a while to mix all of the ingredients with such a small spoon, but she completed this task with self-righteousness as Schazam heckled her.
Schnitzel stirs the burger batter like a pro as Schazam heckles her from down below.
7. This final, burger-shaping step should be completed with a pair of human hands. Not to marginalize the capabilities of smart dogs, but this step likely will take 3 to 10 hours if you leave it in the paws of the sous chefs. Divide the mixture in two, and shape it into two monster burgers. Then generously adorn the tops of the burgers with Old Bay Seasoning. Make it rain Old Bay! This seasoning is the star of your burger, so do not be stingy with it. Finally, let your sous chefs perform a quality check on the shape and girth of your burgers. Once they pass inspection, bake them in your preheated oven for 25 minutes.
Burger shape and girth are everything. Inspector Schnitzel gives her stamp of approval with one request: add more Old Bay.
Look at this beautifully bodacious burger! Even if you accidentally left the burgers in the oven for 35 minutes like Schnitzel and Schazam did, they are still perfect – not even the edges are burnt! See? You can do no wrong with this mighty meal. Schnitzel served the burger on a bed of fresh kale and garnished it with tomatoes for color and a Meyer lemon, which should be squeezed all over the burger. When it was time to plate this meal, Schazam stole one of Schnitzel’s bones and scurried under the bed. I don’t blame her.
The flavors of the E-Z Bake Salmon Burger will erupt in your mouth like fireworks on the Fourth of July. The mild yet meaty salmon is a perfect companion to the texture and flavors of the nuts and seeds. The almond meal pulls the taste into a gourmet stratosphere, and your taste buds will be delighted by the spicy sassiness of Old Bay and the sweet brightness of the Meyer lemon. Schnitzel, Schazam and I guarantee that you will be full, happy and satisfied after you finish the E-Z Bake Salmon Burger.
Finally, since this recipe yields two servings, I would be remiss if I did not point out one of its biggest benefits. If you prepare this dish for yourself, you can refrigerate the second burger. Here is where the true, hanger-controlling magic happens: it takes just 5 minutes to reheat the burger in a toaster oven. Referring to our handy hanger scale, we see that this second burger would be ready in time to satisfy hanger rated as high as a 9. Once I ate the second burger cold, as I stood in front of the open refrigerator door, because my hanger reached an alarming rating of 10. Even chilled down, that burger was delicious, proving again that from making it to eating it, the E-Z Bake Salmon Burger is one of the easiest, healthiest, dog-friendliest ways to tame the wildest hangry beast.