As a chef, I have always been fascinated by holidays and traditions from around the world because no matter how much they may differ from place to place, one thing is always one important component that is universal - FOOD! Since living on Mustique, I've been introduced to a number of American celebrations from our lovely guests from the States and one of my favorites is Labor Day. While it has taken me a while to remember to drop the 'u' from Labour, what better way to celebrate the end of summer than with a barbecue and a pint of beer?!
Since we're in the Caribbean it only seems appropriate to add a little island twist to the tradition, so I've come up with a tasty recipe for a festive fish burger that is the perfect send off for summer. I've found that the best fish to use is Mahi Mahi - it is has a more 'meaty' texture and doesn't easily break off into flakes when you bite into it. If you're not a Mahi Mahi fan, other fish that will substitute nicely are Marlin, Barracuda, Sea Bass, or Salmon.
Caribbean-Inspired Fish Burger
Serves 8 people
- 8 Mahi Mahi fillets
- 8 burger buns
- ½ cup of spinach
- 5 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped onions
- 1 chopped egg
- 1 tbsp gherkins
- 3 tsp hot sauce
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 bunch of spring onions
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- ¼ cup of parsley
- 5 garlic cloves
- ½ cup of vinegar
- 4 leaves of fresh thyme (we use local tikki thyme)
- 2 tbsp sea salt
- 5 thinly sliced pieces of lemongrass
- 1 piece of ginger, finely chopped
First, prepare what I like to call 'Green Jerk' seasoning by combining the spring onions, green pepper, parsley, garlic, ginger and vinegar, fresh thyme (we use local tikki thyme here on the island), lemongrass, and sea salt into a blender.
Once fully blended, rub the 'Green Jerk' seasoning on both sides of the Mahi Mahi fillets. In addition to the seasoning, rub a little bit of coconut oil on the fillets for a Caribbean twist. Store them in a plastic bag in your fridge for 24 hours as this gives it time to marinate and the Mahi Mahi will be more flavorful.
After the fillets have had time to marinate, place them on the grill and cook them until the herbs and spices have fully caramelized to the point where the fish is almost blackened, giving it a sort of singed element. The burger buns should also be lightly toasted on the grill to make them a little bit crispy on the outside. I prefer to use homemade buns, however, if you are short on time store-bought burger buns work as well.
To make the tartar sauce, add the mayonnaise, chopped parsley, onions, egg, and gherkins into a bowl. Top it with a dash of hot sauce and a drizzle of coconut oil and mix the ingredients together.
Once everything has been marinated, grilled, and mixed, place a dollop of tartar sauce on the top and bottom of the burger buns and add the Mahi Mahi along with a couple leaves of crunchy spinach.
Lastly, place a plantain on top for extra crispness. I personally like to fry my own plantains and then cut a small hole into the middle, as it allows you to put a wooden pick through the sandwich to hold everything in place. If you are making your own plantains, all you have to do is cut them thinly and deep fry them until they are nice and green, which gives them their crisp texture.
Last step? Savor the end of another beautiful summer. Or, better yet, just plan a trip to Mustique where the sun is always shining and the grill at The Beach Café is always hot!