I frequent a fish market that sells “scraps” for half price. It’s not old fish, it’s just the pieces left over when customers ask for a certain weight or cut of a fish. These “scraps” are excellent for making burgers. If your fishmonger doesn’t market their scraps, it’s worth inquiring if you can get a discounted price on the leftover bits.
Grated zucchini might seem an odd addition to a burger, but it adds an incredible moistness, without impacting the flavor of the fish. I encourage you to go the extra mile and make my homemade ketchup, as the flavor of store-bought will overwhelm the white fish. It is super simple and can be made well in advance (the ketchup will last a month in the fridge), but if you just don’t have time, groceries now sell a variety of artisan-style ketchups, so use one of those.
Fish Burgers with Homemade Tomato Ketchup
For the fish burgers:
- 1 pound white fish such as snapper, grouper, or flounder
- 1 medium zucchini about 12 ounces
- 1 egg
- ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs or panko
- 1 tablespoon chopped dill
- 2 scallions chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- sliced pickles for serving
- shredded cabbage for serving or lettuce
- Brioche style hamburger buns for serving
For the homemade ketchup:
- 2 pounds ripe tomatoes
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
For the ketchup:
- In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients. Cook about 25 minutes until thickened. Puree using a blender, being careful when blending hot liquids as they can cause the blender top to explode. Use a dish towel to cover and hold the top firmly, or wait for it to cool slightly.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer and return to the pot. Continue to cook another 10 minutes until thickened, scrape into a bowl and let cool. Refrigerate until using.
For the fish burgers:
- In a medium bowl, combine the dill, scallions, salt, and pepper. Grate the zucchini and add to the bowl, then chop the fish finely and add. Crack in the egg and add the breadcrumbs, then using your hands thoroughly combine the mixture. At this point it can be refrigerated for 4 hours until ready to cook.
- Heat a large skillet with olive oil until hot. The oil should generously coat the bottom to avoid sticking. Form the fish into balls, (about a half cup) place in the pan and flatten into a patty. Repeat until the pan is full, not crowding them too much. Cook about 5 minutes per side over medium heat, until browned and cooked throughout. Remove to a plate and repeat with the remaining fish.
- Place the fish burger on the buns and top with the ketchup, pickles, and lettuce or cabbage. Serve warm.