Monday, March 7, 2016

Salmon Burgers

After last week's disappointing fish recipe, I may have been tempting fate with another. However, I bought three pounds of tilapia fish and Costco has not been carrying the frozen fishburgers that I like so much. These two forces, along with the fact that I am making myself learn to like fish more, encouraged me to try this recipe Mark Bittman's salmon burgers.

Those with good reading comprehension will note that the recipe is for salmon burgers and I have tilapia fish. My feeling is that, if I could afford salmon, I wouldn't need to make it into a burger. I figured that the main difference would be that the tilapia wouldn't have the same flavor profile as the salmon and fish should be fish.

Though many people in the comments talked about adding an egg to the mix, I wanted to give it a chance as it was. I didn't know if the burger would hold together well without an egg, but I figured that worst that could happen would be that I'd end up with scrambled fish and have to eat a fish sloppy Joe. That would be messy, but it probably wouldn't be bad.

Other than using tilapia, I cut the recipe in half because I don't have a regular food processor. I have to use a tiny attachment that goes with my immersion blender. I also doubled the capers (left the amount the same while cutting the rest of the recipe in half) and put in about half a teaspoon of garlic salt. I did this because of the less flavorful nature of tilapia relative to salmon, but also because I love capers.

It turns out that, when you process tilapia into a paste, it gets incredibly sticky. I was glad to have a burger press to form these and lining it with plastic wrap stopped the sticking in the non-stick press. I was stunned at just how "gluey" it was. I had a terrible time getting it off of the little food processor that I used and had to scrub the seams with a brush several times to get fish goo out of them. I should mention that my fish was still partially frozen when I chopped and processed it. I wanted it to be this way so that it wouldn't turn to must. The filets are very thin and fragile and this did stop it from being pulverized. I would repeat this same semi-frozen processing if I do this again.

This made three burgers which was one burger more than it was "supposed" to. The patties were very large and it was more than enough fish. I served it on homemade bread with a very small amount of  mayonnaise and on a bed of red onion, avocado, and tomato. Cooking it in butter yielded a beautiful browned exterior. I was careful not to cook it too long, however, because the burger was thin and I didn't want it to be rubbery or dried out.

The interior was nice and tender and it was flavorful in multiple ways without being overbearingly any one flavor. The fish was present, as were the capers, the scallions, and the garlic. I didn't salt the burger after I cooked it because I salted the mixture very well and it was perfect. I was incredibly impressed with how this turned out in all respects and expect to make it again and again. In fact, this one is likely to get added to my recipe box as I think it can be made with any type of fish and is better than commercially prepared burgers.

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