Grilled Salmon Sliders
As we were pulling this recipe together, a few of our test kitchen folk confessed that, even as professionals, they still feel a little intimidated throwing fish on the grill. We get it: fish can be more delicate than other grillables, and they cook a bit faster as well. But one of the things we love about this recipe is that the salmon fillets are portioned into ¼-pound pieces — they’re super easy to manage (no flopping!), and they cook evenly too.
Before they go on the grill, we give the salmon fillets a bath in a light, Asian-inspired marinade of soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, lemon pepper, and ginger. It gives the fish a salty-sweet, slightly teriyaki vibe that’s fantastic stacked on a buttery toasted slider bun with bright, pungent lemon-garlic aioli, crunchy watermelon radish, and spicy microgreens. The bread-to-fish ratio is perfect, the textures are fantastic — pillowy soft, crunchy, crispy, and chewy — and the flavors are on, on, on.
Are we being over-the-top gushy? Maybe, but in the test kitchen, one of our tasters said they loved these little sliders so much they wanted to serve them at their wedding. (They stopped just short of saying they wanted to marry them!)
That said, salmon sliders make a pretty great weeknight dinner because all you really have to do is whip up a couple sauces and grill the fish. They’re hearty too, so you don’t really need a side dish, but since you’ve got the grill fired up, you could throw some seasonal veggies on with the fish — they’ll taste awesome dipped in the lemon-garlic aioli.
Our tip: If you’re a household of two, go ahead and make as many sliders as you want, and then keep all the ingredients separate — the fish, buns, and aioli. That way, you’ll throw together an easy, flavorful lunch the next day, and it won’t be mushy.
For the salmon:
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup packed brown sugar
⅓ cup water
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp lemon pepper
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground ginger
2 lb salmon fillets, cut into 2x2” pieces
For the lemon-garlic aioli:
1 cup mayonnaise
3 garlic cloves, minced
Juice from ½ large lemon, plus more for seasoning
½ tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp minced fresh dill
For the sliders:
1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
8 brioche slider buns
1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced
2 oz microgreens
To marinate the salmon: In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, water, vegetable oil, lemon pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and ground ginger. Whisk to combine.
Carefully add the salmon pieces to the bowl and coat them with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate the salmon in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
To make the lemon-garlic aioli: In a medium bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and dill. Taste and season with additional lemon juice and salt if needed. Set aside in the refrigerator.
To make the sliders: Heat the grill to medium-high and carefully brush the grates with the grapeseed oil.
Transfer the salmon to the grill, discarding the marinade, and cook for 2 minutes. Rotate the salmon 90º, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. Flip the salmon and cook the second side for 2 to 4 minutes, rotating midway through, or until creamy, white beads appear on the surface. Transfer the salmon to a clean plate to rest.
While the salmon rests, toast the sliced slider buns on the grill, insides down, for 2 to 3 minutes, taking care not to burn them.
To assemble the sliders: Stack the bottom half of each bun with a spoonful of aioli, a thick layer of microgreens, cooked salmon, watermelon radish, more microgreens, and another spoonful of aioli. Cover with the top bun and serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from: The Forked Spoon