Monday, February 21, 2011

Tilapia Fish Burgers with Lemon Caper Mayonnaise

In an attempt to make eating fish a lot more fun , I started to make fish burgers. I enjoy nothing more than baking tipalia in the oven , simply dressed with olive oil , a sqeeze of fresh lemon, sprinkled with salt and pepper and herbs de provenance ..... hhmmmm .

However, once I placed the fish it on the dinner table, I could swear I heard a  silent collective groan of "fish again ????" . So when I put on my deceptive mummy cook hat on, I started to think of more interesting ways of serving fish . With some leftover tilapia fillets one day , I played around with interesting and fresh ideas to make a more healthy and interesting burger.

You can add whatever you like to this mixture , it is not caste in stone. You can also use whatever fish fillet your family enjoys. I selected tilapia because it is readily available and is generally a mild fish , be careful if you are using cod as it has a very strong taste and may over power all the other ingredients. Look a this recipe as a guide. The mixture should look colourful and with a nice balance of fish and vegetable ingredients.

I enjoy them in a lightly toasted bun with some lettuce a nice shmear of tartare sauce or a nice piquant lemon caper mayonnaise. By keeping all the ingredients chopped and diced small there is no real cooking involved because the fish is cooked and we are merely browning the outside of the burger and heating through all the ingredients. The other secret ingredient is the use of japanese panko breadcrumbs , they keep the burgers light and moist and add a nice little crunch to the outside.

The burgers were devoured by the whole family , second helpings were going on, which I loved .You can always serve these with a green salad, a nice  quinoa salad or bean salad. And as always in classic burger tradition - toasted bun, lettuce and a some condiments - and please not ketchup here - it would be totally sacrilegious.

They would make an excellent starter to an elegant dinner party , served simply on a spring lettuce mix, gently tossed with olive oil and sea sea salt and a few grinds of pepper and a lemon wedge. They can be enjoyed just out of the oven or at room temperature ( my favourite) and they can go a long way for a buffet and or family style dinner.

The burgers are light, refreshing and healthy ..... but please do not mention all the health benefits to the family - that way, you will sell them on the idea of eating a burger - how good they are for them will be between you and me.

Tilapia Fish Burgers
a gg original recipe

4 tilapia center cut fillets (or fish of choice)
olive oil
salt and pepper
herbs de provence
red onion 
red bell pepper
fresh flat leaf parsley
2 green onions
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 egg
1/4 cup good quality mayonnaise
panko breadcrumbs
skim milk ( or whatever you use at home)
canola oil
lemon wedges

Place the tilapia fillets in an oven proof bowl, coat with a little olive oil, season with salt , pepper and herbs de provence , add a splash of cold water and bake in a 400F ( 200C) oven for about 12 minutes or until cooked through and flaking easily.

Remove from oven allow to cool, then place in a bowl and flake with a fork, try to keep the pieces a little chunky ( as you would for crab cakes) so that you can identify the fish pieces in the burger.

Finely chop the red onion, bell pepper, parsley , green onion and add to the fish along with everything else except the panko breadcrumbs, milk and canola oil.

Place about 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumb in a bowl and enough milk to soften the breadcrumb but not become a soggy mess. Allow the breadcrumbs to absorb all the milk then add to the fish mixture. If you end up with too much milk in the bowl- sometimes this is hard to judge - just squeeze the breadcrumb in your hand , place that in the fish mixture and discard the excess milk.

Combine well , your mixture should be moist and just holding together , you may need to a touch more mayonnaise - but be prudent as you do not want a soggy mayonnaise mess.

Place in the fridge for at least an hour to firm up before forming into burgers.

Remove from fridge , form into burger approximately 3 inches wide and no more than 1/2 inch thick . You do not want these to be too thick or they will fall apart in the cooking process and you will end up burning the outside of the burger and the middle part of the burger will be "uncooked".

Preheat a non stick frypan and coat the bottom of the pan - barely, with some canola oil , meanwhile form the burgers and press the outside of each burger in the panko breadcrumbs and shallow fry until a light golden colour.

Place in a pyrex or ovenproof dish and bake in a 400F or 200C oven for about 8-10 minutes until heated through.

Squeeze a fresh lemon before serving.

Lemon Caper Mayonnaise 
a gg original recipe adapted from many a cookbook

1 cup good quality mayonnaise 
the zest and juice of one lemon 
1 tablespoon capers - roughly chopped 
a pinch of salt to taste 
a few grinds of pepper
a splash of olive oil
1 very small garlic clove crushed ( optional)

Combine all of the above and adjust seasoning as needed , allow to develop flavours for at least 6 hours or overnight int he fridge. Spoon on top of the burgers and enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice and informative blog posting. Among all the fish, tilapia fish is Awesome! Tilapia fish farming is very profitable and easy. I like tilapia fish dish very much for it's unique taste and nutritional value.