I’ve eaten more salmon in 2015 than I have in my entire life combined. I’ve been aiming to try a new recipe every week and I’ve been doing a pretty fabulous job of it so far. Almost to the point where I may as well start a new salmon-only food blog because I’m seriously nervous you’re going to get sick of my salmon jibber jabber. But um, can we do one more salmon post? Then I’ll give you like a two week break. Maybe.
I’ve talked about the health benefits of salmon before, but in case you forget, all you need to know is TONS of healthy fats, heart health, brain health, and happiness. Seriously, those omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the risk of depression. And Alzheimer’s disease! Now I don’t think you can argue with me posting about it so often, right?
While I used to buy whatever kind of salmon happened to be on sale at my grocery store, I’m now pretty hooked on only buying wild salmon. Wild salmon has the most nutrition benefits and farm-raised salmon often has contaminates and lower quality omega-3s. So, when I had the opportunity to work with Alaska Seafood, I jumped. They offered a whole list of seafoods I could create recipes from and I picked up a beautiful piece of frozen salmon (I’m a huge proponent of frozen fish as it’s usually just as fresh and sometimes even fresher than fresh!) for a dish you can enjoy for a meal… Or a party appetizer.
Isn’t this salmon pretty??
Wild seafood from Alaska is some of the best. Because the water is so cold, Alaska produces some of the best-tasting seafood with lots of high-quality protein, vitamins, and oils. I admit, I don’t usually look to see where my fish is from, but I’m definitely going to start to. Alaska actually supplies nearly 60% of the nation’s seafood and about 90% of North America’s salmon comes from Alaska.
I decided to make Alaska Salmon BLT Pesto Sliders with the sockeye salmon I picked up at my grocery store. I feel like salmon burgers don’t make it onto enough menus and they’re probably one of the healthiest (and I think, most delicious) burgers around!
I made my own pesto and, of course, recommend you do the same. It’s easy! And worth it, if you ask me. All you do is blend lightly toasted pine nuts, garlic cloves, lemon juice, and basil leaves in a blender. Then you slowly stream the olive oil in to get your pesto to the right consistency and mix in the parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.
I made my pesto into a “mayo” by stirring in 1/2 C Greek yogurt. Even if you buy your pesto, you can still stir in the Greek yogurt for the purposes of these sliders.
I love pesto almost as much as I love salmon.
Another fab thing about salmon? It’s SO easy to prepare! I’ve cooked it about a billion different ways, but I think my favorite is definitely in a grill pan. I just brush it lightly with olive oil, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and pop it in a grill pan on medium-high heat.
Grilling for about 4 minutes on both sides worked for me, but a lot will depend on how thick your salmon is. Your salmon should feel firm to the touch and flake apart when cooked. I’ll admit I enjoy my salmon slightly undercooked best. There’s nothing worse than ordering salmon out at a restaurant and having them overcook it.
The grill pan is awesome because of the grill marks that are left on the salmon.
I cut my salmon into small squares for the sliders, but I think I could have eaten that entire piece in just a couple minutes.
ALWAYS toast your slider buns. And then spread a little pesto mayo onto each bun.
Top with a tomato round and a 1/2 slice of bacon.
Put a salmon square on top of the bacon and a half a piece of butter lettuce on the top bun.
I’m getting hungry all over again. This sandwich is seriously made up of all my favorite things… And in slider form at that! Of course, you could make full-sized salmon burgers if you can’t find slider buns- just cut the salmon into larger pieces. But I love that you can eat a few of these if you want.
Please don’t let anyone tell you fish is difficult to cook. It’s not! At all! Doesn’t this prove it? And I mean, isn’t it worth whipping up some BLT sliders for brain health?
Aside from some people thinking that cooking fish is hard, there are other issues that prevent some people from eating it. Lots of people are worried about sustainability… Which is another reason to eat seafood from Alaska! Their fishing methods are anchored in strict conservation practices (plus the State Constitution), which means we’ll be able to enjoy it for many, many years. Which also means, I’m going to have to keep coming up with fun new salmon recipes and they may never disappear from this blog!
While the salmon was my favorite part of the sliders, I feel like all of the components just went so well together. You don’t need the pesto mayo, of course, but it’s so flavorful and spring-like and adds a bit of zing to the slider. You’ve got the buttery richness of the salmon, the saltiness of the bacon, the juicy freshness of the tomato, and the crunch of the lettuce to pull everything together.
Now that I’ve experienced Alaska salmon, I want to check out some of the other seafoods on the list. For instance, I’ve never cooked with king crab or snow crab. And I don’t think I’ve even ever tried rockfish or black cod. Oh, and weathervane scallops? I definitely need more of those in my life. A scallop BLT could be next up.
People say it’s bad form to bring fish to the office to reheat for lunch. But I’m kind of thinking the rules don’t apply to these mini salmon burgers. Right??
Do you check to see where your seafood’s from?
- 1 lb. Alaska sockeye salmon, skin removed (thawed if frozen)
- 2 t olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 8 slider buns, lightly toasted
- ½ C pesto mayo (see recipe below)
- 4 slices bacon, cooked crispy
- 2 small tomatoes, sliced into rounds
- 4 butter lettuce leaves
- 2 T pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 t freshly lemon juice
- 2 C basil leaves, packed
- ⅓-1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
- ½ C parmesan cheese
- ½ t red hot pepper flakes
- ½ C Greek yogurt
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Pat salmon dry, brush with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat grill pan over medium high heat and add salmon. Cook about 4 minutes on each side, until salmon feels firm to the touch.
- Remove to cutting board and cut salmon into small squares.
- Spread pesto mayo on both sides of lightly toasted slider buns.
- Top each bun with ½ slice of bacon, a tomato round, salmon square, and half a piece of butter lettuce. Place tops of rolls on top.
- Add pine nuts, garlic cloves, lemon juice, and basil leaves to blender and blend until finely chopped.
- Slowly stream in ⅓ C olive oil with blender running, until mixture is smooth. Scrape down the edges of the blender. Check consistency and add remaining olive oil if necessary.
- Mix in parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.
- Pour into bowl and stir in Greek yogurt and salt and pepper to taste.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.