Valentines fish burger with herby tartar sauce

Saint Valentine visited Yumblog Villas on Sunday bearing Philosophy Football gifts, homemade cards and 650g of wet fish. All were welcome and put to good use.

If you fancy cooking the delicious looking burger above/below, be forewarned this recipe requires around 3 hours put aside for salting and chilling … that said, it’s not as if you have people to see or places to go this side of the vaccine.

Preparation time: at least 3 hours
Cooking time: 10–20 minutes
Skill level: easy
Serves: 4
Recipe: based on a Tom Kerridge

For the burgers

  • cod (or other firm white fish) – skinned and pin-boned – 350 g
  • mackerel – skinned and pin-boned – 200g
  • raw prawns – peeled and de-veined – 100g
  • salt flakes – 1 tbsp
  • 3 cloves garlic – crushed
  • capers – rinsed and finely chopped – 2 tbsp
  • bicarbonate of soda – 1 tsp
  • dill – small bunch – finely chopped
  • English mustard powder – 1 tsp
  • 1 beef tomato – cut into 4 slices
  • 1 small onion – cut into thin rings
  • 1 little gem lettuce – leaves separated, washed and dried
  • s & p
  • 4 soft white baps, halved

For the herby tartar sauce

  • (Hellman’s) mayonnaise – about 6 generous tablespoons (use your judgement)
  • good handful of parsley – finely chopped
  • good handful of dill – finely chopped
  • 1 gherkin – finely diced
  • lemon juice – squeeze
  • s & p

Place the fish fillets and prawns in a non-metallic container, sprinkle with the salt and set aside in the fridge for 2 hours. This will draw out some of the water and firm up the fish.

After the 2 hours remove the fish and rinse thoroughly under the tap to remove the salt. Pat dry with a clean tea towel.

Chop the fish and prawns very finely – we used a knife, but you could use a food processor, just be sure not to process to a pulp.

Place in a bowl and add the garlic, chopped capers, bicarb, dill, mustard powder, a twist of black pepper and mix everything together.

Form into 4 equal burgers, wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for at least an hour.

Meanwhile, make the herby tartar sauce by combining all the ingredients – taste and use your judgement on the exact proportions.

Lightly toast your baps.

Heat some oil in a large non-stick frying pan and over a medium heat, cook the burgers for about 4 minutes on both sides until cooked through and lightly golden. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your pan.

Construct your burger – illustration below:

Eat your burger.

These burgers are fairly substantial, but a few chips wouldn’t be unthinkable.

Classic Rick Stein end of cookery scene empty plate shot.

Verdict: In the spirit of Brexit and the new enlightened times of openness, honesty and political integrity we now live in, I feel I must be candid and ‘transparent’ dear reader(s) and confess our fishcakes were a tad on the salty side (somewhere between Walkers Ready Salted and the Dead Sea). However, fear not, the recipe above has been de-salinated to prevent such a thing happening to you.

If you’re in the market for an indulgent fishcake, why not try Dave’s Mam’s killer fishcakes (with cheese sauce). Or if you’ve lost your appetite a McTory Burger.

Drink: Finished off the Tesco delivery.

Entertainment: Introduced the child to ‘Karate Kid’. “Walk left, safe. Walk right, safe. Walk in the middle, you get squished like a grape”


  1. What is in the Tesco delivery?

  2. Usually more beer than you ever think you’ll drink … which goes in an alarmingly short time.

  3. Monsieur Binet Himself

    Bonjour, me hearties! It has been a shamefully long time since I last made my presence known here and thanked you for all your lovely posts and recipes.
    I am glad you refer to this new period of openness, honesty and political integrity, as I think too many people are not thankful enough for all the work that goes into that, all the conniving, I mean backstabbing, I mean abject lack of morals, I mean … bloody hell, why can I not find the right words? (Probably because those are the right words?)
    Now to focus on things closer to home: in my neck of the woods – the polders and grey skies of an evil EU land, the Netherlands – the weather forecast for this weekend is rain, rain and more rain. So I have decided tomorrow first thing I will be at the Friday market with a list of ingredients to make your Dead Sea fishburgers (I am quite partial to a bit of oversalinated food, a penchant which I am sure will sooner rather than later come to haunt me in ways I suspect I will not find the least bit pleasant). And will lift my glass in your honour (who am I kidding, it will be many a glass).

    One thing I have to ask your advice on, how on earth can I make a fishcake stick together and remain a fishcake and not resemble a small demolition site on a plate? Have tried every trick in the book, to no avail.

    When the weekend arrives tomorrow, wishing you a very pleasant one!

  4. Bonjour Monsieur Binet Himself, the knack to a cohesive fishcake is sufficient chilling. Try keeping them in the fridge for a few hours longer. Good luck. R

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