ofm top twenty: coley burger

I decided to kick off my ofm top twenty recipe challenge with Nathan Outlaw’s recipe for coley burgers with shallot and cider mustard relish.

Coley is a less expensive white fish that is often suggested as a sustainable alternative to cod or haddock. I’ve not used it much and was interested to see how it worked in this recipe. i was also intrigued by the relish– in the recipe it looks quite sweet and includes apples, neither of which are obvious things to pair with fish; at least not for me!

so how did i get on?

making the pickled shallots (do this first, despite the fact that it is the final paragraph of the recipe method) and the coley burgers was very simple. however, the method for the cider mustard relish was much too vague and unless you take action beyond the recipe descriptions, i think you’d end up with an under-cooked watery mess (you need to ensure you boil off enough liquid before adding the apples and as you finish cooking it).

the final verdict:

would i have tried this recipe if it hadn't been part of the ofm top twenty? yes, it sounded nice and i’m always interested to try different ways of cookingfish.

would i try this recipe again in the future? no. i thought the burgers were a bit bland (i’d increase all the flavourings as the coley has a strong enough flavour to be able to take it) and the relish far too sweet (maybe this would have been less of a problem if i’d served it in a bun with the other suggested burger accoutrements). however, the texture of the burgers is good and the cooking times work well, so i will use that method again. i also really liked the pickled shallots.

the recipe below is as it was published in the ofm - in addition to the changes suggested for the relish, i think the quantities are off - my 500g of fish (1/3 of the recipe quantities) resulted in 6 burgers, each weighing the suggested 100g. 

nathan outlaw’s coley burger with shallot and cider mustard relish (makes 10 burgers)

4 banana shallots, finely chopped

8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

6 dutch red chillis, deseeded and finely chopped

olive oil

1.5kg coley fillet, no bones and skin, diced

5 tablespoons chopped chives

3 eggs, to bind

250g breadcrumbs

sea salt and pepper

for the relish:

6 banana shallots, roughly chopped

olive oil

200ml cider vinegar

1 litre dry cider

3 teaspoon thyme leaves 

200g caster sugar

4 apples, peeled and chopped

5 tablespoons wholegrain mustard

to assemble:

10 bread rolls

3 beef tomatoes, sliced

200g rocket leaves, washed

100g pickled shallots (see recipe below)

to make the relish, sweat off the chopped shallot in a little olive oil for 2 minutes in a large pan over a medium heat. add the vinegar, cider, thyme and sugar and reduce over a medium heat until the liquid becomes syrupy. when the mixture is syrupy, add the apple and cook until the apple is soft and then add the mustard. season with salt and pepper and reserve until required in a jar with a good fitting lid.

to make the coley patties, sweat off the shallot, garlic and chilli in a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil for 2 minutes. remove the mixture from the pan and allow it to cool down.

using a food processor, in two batches, blend the coley for 1 minute. place all the fish into a mixing bowl and add the shallot and chilli mixture, the chives, eggs and breadcrumbs and give it a good mix with your hands until it is well incorporated. season with salt and pepper.

at this stage it is good to fry off a little piece of the patty mix to taste the seasoning as a tester, then you can adjust the seasoning as you like it. when you are happy with the flavour, divide the mixture into 100g balls and then mould them into patty-style shapes. lay the patties on to a tray and refrigerate until required.

to cook the patties, preheat the oven to 200c. heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add some olive oil. when the oil is hot, add the patties and fry for 2 minutes on each side. place the patties on to an oven tray and put in the oven for 3 minutes.

while they are cooking, slice your bread rolls and add a drizzle of olive oil followed by a slice or two of tomato, some rocket and a few pickled shallots (to pickle shallots, boil together 50g sugar, 50ml red wine vinegar, 50ml red wine, then pour over 2 sliced shallots; leave for 2 hours).

remove the patties from the oven and place them on top of the rocket and shallots. top the patties with some relish and serve with more dressed rocket leaves and tomatoes.