The Hungry Engineer

More Fish for Dinner

09 Jun 2008

About a week ago, I wrote up my review of a new seafood cookbook I had just picked up called Fish Without a Doubt: The Cook’s Essential Companion and described a couple of the recipes I had prepared. Yesterday, I was at it again. There are several interesting recipes for fish burgers. I know, I know, it almost sounds off-putting, but the notion intrigued me. As my next test of this cookbook, for dinner yesterday evening, we had the Shrimp and Tilapia Burgers.

The preparation was sort of fascinating. A shrimp mousse effectively served as a binder for cubed tilapia and a few other ingredients (salt and some aromatics). From this, the burgers were shaped and cooked to a lovely golden brown. Easy peasy.

You may remember from last week’s review that the authors’ preparations can be a little elaborate. This one was no exception (though to be fair, it was a good bit less demanding than the chicken-fried trout recipe from last week). For this one, the sauce specified is simply called Chipotle Sauce, which turned out to effectively be a chipotle mayonnaise.

And finally, the recipe called for pitas or flatbreads instead of a bun for the burgers. I am not fond of store-bought pitas. It may be that I have just never been very lucky. They seem to taste sort of like cardboard and usually have the added bonus of getting moldy and gross in the refrigerator before I ever get around to using all of them. In frustration, this time I chose to make them from scratch instead. The recipe I followed can be found here. When I was making them, I had forgotten that I wanted to use a mixture of whole wheat and white flour (using all white all-purpose flour instead), so they were maybe a little boring. Plus, they didn’t all puff up the way they were supposed to, so I had to do some manual pocket making to hold our fish burgers and sauce. With a little work though, I think there pitas could be a really good though, so I’ll almost certainly try again.

As a composite, the burgers were quite tasty. We cut the pitas in half and hollowed out pockets, cut the fish burgers in half and inserted into the pitas, and then finished the halves off with a good dose of the chipotle sauce and a little bit of lettuce. The gentle shrimp and ginger flavors did a lot to perk up otherwise boring tilapia, and the chipotle sauce was an amazingly good complement to the burger (I was surprised and pleased to find that the sauce didn’t overpower the mild fish). The pitas were sort of unobtrusive - largely a delivery device for the fish and sauce.

The authors make a point of describing how good leftover burgers are cold the next day (which is why I made the full recipe for 4 instead of cutting it in half), so for lunch today, we had cold leftover shrimp and tilapia burgers. This time we opted to eat them without the pita, simply smearing them with the chipotle sauce and digging into them with a fork. Again, they were delicious.

I’ll try out a couple more recipes for verification before I become a complete fanboy (fangirl?) for this cookbook, but so far it’s looking pretty good. Be on the lookout for those in the weeks to come.

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