Ken is a fly fisherman and while he usually practices “catch and release” fishing, occasionally he will bring a fish home for dinner. This has to do with how common the fish is (he doesn’t keep the more exciting wild brook trout for example), how big it is, and of course how tasty the fish is.
Last week he brought home a large Lake Trout–large enough that we got two dinners out of it! Ken cooks the fish that he catches, and he decided to soak the fish in buttermilk while he decided what to make. He also removed the skin and the belly meat, which can have a strong flavor. Our first meal was simple pan-fried fish that had been breaded in ground almonds and cooked in butter. The fish was quite mild and very good. The next dinner employed our go-to method when we have lots of fish—fish burgers. We both really like the recipe for Salmon Burgers with Spinach and Ginger in The Gourmet Cookbook (edited by Ruth Reichl), and decided to try it with the Lake Trout. It turned out to be a delicious way to cook this fish. We think that any firm-fleshed fish would be good prepared this way. The Gourmet recipe notes that you do not grind the fish fillet, but cut it into small dice, which gives the burger a much better texture.
1 pound Lake Trout fillet (or Salmon)
2-3 cups coarsely chopped young spinach
3 scallions or 1 shallot, minced
1 Tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 egg white
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons drained sliced Japanese pickled ginger
Skin the fish. If cooking Lake Trout, soak the fish in buttermilk for an hour or so or overnight. Cut the fish into ¼-inch dice and put it in a large bowl. Add the chopped spinach, scallions or shallots, fresh ginger, salt and pepper and mix well. Beat the egg white and soy sauce together with a fork in a small bowl and add to the salmon mixture. Mix well and form into patties, about ½-inch thick.
Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the patties and cook, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through.
Serve the burgers with the pickled ginger. We eat these burgers sans buns, with a big salad. These burgers are also very good made with leftover cooked fish.