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Giving red meat a break? Opt for a moist salmon burger, like this one.

Welcome to America’s Test Kitchen, the promised land of troubleshooting your most basic cooking fails and fixing problems you never knew you had. The editors’ new cookbook: The Make-Ahead Cook, is an ever-useful guide that will unobtrusively lead you away from the the take-out menus and back into the kitchen where a much better dinner awaits you. No time to cook? Master the art of “make it ahead of time…” 

We wanted moist, flavorful salmon burgers that tasted foremost like salmon and that could be made in advance and cooked up for a quick and delicious dinner. Many salmon burger recipes use canned salmon, but since the salmon is the star of this dish, we found that it was well worth the additional modest expense and effort required to make our burgers with fresh salmon. Burgers made with canned salmon were lackluster (to say the least) and mushy, while those made with fresh salmon were moist and full of flavor, with an appealing, chunky texture. A food processor made quick work of chopping the salmon into pieces.

To keep the burgers together in the skillet, we used a light binder of mayonnaise and bread crumbs. Store-bought bread crumbs muddled the flavor of the salmon, so we made our own fresh crumbs from white sandwich bread. Minced shallot added some aromatic depth, and some Dijon mustard provided moistness and flavor. With a little fresh parsley, we had a bright and meaty salmon burger that truly tasted like salmon. Be sure to process the fish in three separate batches and for no more than four pulses, or it will turn to paste and be impossible to shape. If you don’t have a food processor, salmon is easy to chop by hand; to make it even easier, put the salmon in the freezer for 10 minutes before chopping.

Reprinted with permission from The Make Ahead Cook