Alton Brown's Grilled Fish Burgers Feature A Sustainable Salmon Dupe

Alton Brown is no stranger to sustainable food choices. Back in 2012, he partnered with the Tennessee Aquarium to increase awareness of alternative seafood. The collaborative effort, known as Serve & Protect, was part of a community outreach initiative created to make sustainable food choices more accessible by not just introducing alternatives, but by actually demonstrating how to prepare meals using what may be unfamiliar species of fish. Case in point: Brown's Char-Burger. Featured in his 2016 cookbook, "EveryDayCook," the recipe uses chopped Arctic char — Char-Burger, get it? — to create a satisfying substitute for a grilled salmon burger with all the trimmings.

And according to Brown, his Char-Burger will wow even the most dedicated beef burger fans. "Everybody loves a good char-broil burger, right? Well, I love a good char-burger," Brown wrote about the recipe on his website. "That is, a burger composed of Arctic char, a member of the salmon family that is not only darned good for you ... but sustainable as well."

Where's the beef?

While some sustainable seafood options — like substituting monkfish as a replacement for sea bass — may be almost unrecognizable to mainstream shoppers, Arctic char and salmon are remarkably similar in appearance. An anadromous fish — the species spawns in freshwater, but lives in saltwater — Arctic char is a cold-water fish native to Alaska, but also found in parts of Europe, Asia, Iceland, and Greenland. Arctic char resembles salmon in appearance, but its taste is more of a cross between salmon and trout. It's a mild fish with a relatively high-fat content, so it's adaptable to a variety of cooking methods including baking, broiling, grilling, sautéing, poaching, and smoking. It's also freezer-friendly, making it one of Brown's go-to options for a spur-of-the-moment burger night.

Ready to give it a try? The whole recipe, start to finish (as long as you start with fresh or thawed Arctic char), takes less than an hour. To make four burgers, you'll need a pound of skinless, boneless, Arctic char filet chopped into quarter-inch cubes and mixed with panko bread crumbs, scallions, bell pepper, horseradish, egg white, fumi furikake (a traditional Japanese umami seasoning made with sesame seeds, crunchy seaweed, and bonito flakes), kosher salt, and pepper. After shaping the mixture into burger patties and refrigerating them for 30 minutes, heat oil in a cast-iron pan and cook the burgers for three to four minutes per side. Once complete, serve on onion rolls with Kewpie mayonnaise.