- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 9, 2003

A carefree recipe from Rick Rodgers — what could be more welcome for cooks these busy days?

Mr. Rodgers, author of the popular “101” series and other cookbooks, focuses his new “The Carefree Cook” (Broadway Books) on making life easier for cooks. It promises “more than 150 hassle-free recipes for cooking every day.”

However, Mr. Rodgers points out that the book is not about “cooking with less than five ingredients or getting dinner on the table in fifteen minutes,” although, where feasible, he has kept ingredient lists short and has identified some recipes that can be made in less than 30 minutes.

There’s a place for “slow food,” too, he says, and the benefits of long, slow cooking.

Most of his recipes are for weeknight-style dishes, although he points out that some could function as dinner-party courses, too. His introduction, with basic information and tips, is followed by a complete range of recipes, from soups through desserts.

Introducing the following recipe, he explains that the fatty flesh of salmon is perfect for grinding and grilling into seafood burgers. The tomato relish adds tang, and arugula provides a peppery note. Use a soft roll, as these burgers are not nearly as firm as ground beef.

Salmon burgers Provencal with tomato relish

The preparation and cooking time are less than 30 minutes.


1 large ripe tomato, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


11/2 pounds skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch chunks

2 tablespoons pesto, homemade or store-bought

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 soft rolls, split

12 large arugula leaves or 4 red-leaf lettuce leaves

To make the relish: Mix the tomato, shallot, vinegar and oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside while you prepare the salmon.

Place the salmon, pesto, salt and pepper in a food processor, and pulse until the salmon is finely chopped. Rinse your hands under cold water, and form the salmon mixture into 4 patties about 4 inches wide.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties, and cook until the underside is lightly browned, about 11/2 minutes. Turn and cook until the other side is lightly browned, about 11/2 minutes for medium-rare salmon burgers; do not overcook.

For each sandwich, place a burger on the bottom half of a roll, and top with a spoonful of the tomato relish, 3 arugula leaves and the top of the roll. Serve immediately. Makes 4 sandwiches.


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