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Halfway Home: College Football and Pacific Northwest Burgers

We're at the 2014 season's halfway point, folks, and what a journey it's been. If you had told me back in July that by week 8 my home state would be perched atop the polls with a clear view of the college football playoffs on the horizon, I would've scheduled you an MRI (being the concerned friend I am). But man, it sure has been fun to watch.

Post Ole Miss-Alabama game. I'm the loose-jowled fella on the right not enjoying college football in the slightest. Photo: Mary Margaret Kemp Moore

In the world of college football, though, it's all about how you finish—not start—the season that matters. So hold onto your seats, ladies and gents. It's about to get interesting.

Even though all eyes are going to be on Florida State and Notre Dame this weekend, I'm tipping my cap to the Pacific Northwest. Besides, I've already featured FSU. The Huskies of Washington will be traveling to Eugene, Oregon, Saturday evening for a tilt against Nike's favorite waterfowl. The Pac-12 is wide open right now, so this is a must-win for both teams. Tune in to see two of the nation's best (UW's Shaq Thompson and the Duck's Marcus Mariota) battle it out. I'm tipping my cap to the Ducks and their effervescent uniform-stylings for the W.

Pacific Northwest Burger An homage to both states oceanic bounty, this delectable take on traditional burgers stars salmon filet (get them fresh if you can) and gets a scrumptious bit of crunch from thinly sliced radish. This tangy, peppery-sweet "burger" will have you booking a flight towards Autzen stadium in no time. Make this recipe and share photos on our Instagram account (@cookinglight), or show us what else you've got cooking for this week's tailgate. Have a great football and food-filled weekend everyone! Cheers.

1/2 cup water

Pacific Northwest Burger. Photo: Randy Mayor

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups very thinly sliced radish
1/3 cup canola mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon Thai sweet chili sauce
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skinned
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Cooking spray
4 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns
1 1/2 cups watercress


1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour hot liquid over radish. Chill 30 minutes; drain well.

2. Combine mayonnaise and next 3 ingredients. Cover and refrigerate.

3. Preheat grill to high heat.

4. Combine soy sauce and chili sauce, stirring with a whisk. Sprinkle fillets with pepper and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Place fillets on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes, brushing with half of soy mixture. Carefully turn fillets; grill 4 minutes or until desired degree of doneness, brushing with remaining soy mixture.

5. Spread 2 tablespoons mayo mixture on bottom half of each bun; top each with 1 fillet. Top evenly with radishes. Arrange about 1/3 cup watercress on each fillet; top with top halves of buns.

CALORIES 397; FAT 14.9g (sat 1.6g, mono 4.7g, poly 4.1g); PROTEIN 37.5g; CARB 24.9g; FIBER 1.8g; CHOL 80mg; IRON 2.4mg; SODIUM 567mg; CALC 117mg