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‘The Mighty Fish Burger’ by Bob Hart

Peter 'Grubby' Stubbs
Article image for ‘The Mighty Fish Burger’ by Bob Hart

In 2017, in my book BARBECUE UNPLUGGED, my last book which, naturally, I
assume you own, and according to which I further assume that you essentially live
your lives, I advanced a theory about hamburgers.

It was simply that if you chose to convert a great steak – a scotch fillet, for example
– into a burger, you would be suitably rewarded for your extravagance.

That idea resulted in my “super-burger” with its gloriously opulent meat patty on
a lightly toasted brioche bun, the prime meat always processed rather than
minced for the medium-rare patty which is then suitably embellished with a slaw
dressed with dill crème fraiche, sriracha ketchup and perhaps a squirt of sriracha
mayo on each cut and grilled face of the rolls, and finished with a smattering of
Smith’s Original Crisps (and yes, the brand is important).

It worked, and Melbourne is now awash with raucous parties offering nothing
else. For which I apologise, naturally. There is even a catering van – not mine,
incidentally – offering these beauties, which it calls “posh-burgers”. Fair enough.

So now, fish. It so happened that I was left, very recently, with a single steak of one
of my favourite fish: hiramasa kingfish.

And dangerously, I had an idea…

I started by buying a black, squid-ink brioche roll I had spotted in Gontran
Cherrier, the exotic French bakers who have shops around the traps, including
one in Smith Street, Fitzroy, and another near me in Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn.

I then zapped the kingie steak in a food processor, along with half a salad onion
(which I chopped coarsely first in the processor), a splash of fish sauce, a small
knob of ginger which I put through a garlic press, a modest amount of sea salt
(because of the fish sauce), black pepper and about half a cup of Panko (Japanese)

I shaped the coarsely chopped fish and the rest of the ingredients into a burger
patty, let it set in the fridge for a couple of hours, and then oiled it with a touch of
EV olive oil and cooked it to medium rare.

I did this by grilling it for just a couple of minutes a side on a hot grill –
somewhere just over the 200C mark – moving it through 90 degrees the second
time I flipped it, and then rested it while I lightly grilled both sides of the black
brioche roll.

And then, I assembled the burger as follows:
First, I spread both cut faces of the (lightly toasted) brioche with wasabi mayo –
made by stirring a squirt or two of Japanese wasabi from a tube into a large dollop
of Best Foods or Kewpie mayo, to taste.

I then topped the dressed base of the brioche with the patty, topped the patty with
a coleslaw dressed with chopped fresh dill in crème fraiche, and then I topped the
coleslaw with a few Smith’s Original crisps. Racy, huh?
Kingfish? King-bloody-burger, as well!

Peter 'Grubby' Stubbs