Spring 2024

Hake Burgers, Grilled Aubergine and Membrillo Tomato Chutney

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Serving: 4


140g (43/4oz/3 cups) breadcrumbs

2 tsp hot smoked paprika

1 egg

3 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour

4 x 125g (4oz) hake fillets

1 aubergine (eggplant), cut into 1cm (1/2 in) slices

olive oil, to fry and grill

For the spiced tomato chutney

2 tbsp olive oil

200g (7oz) cherry tomatoes, quartered

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

a pinch of chilli (hot pepper) flakes (optional)

50g (2oz) membrillo

2 tsp sherry vinegar

Maldon Sea Salt flakes

freshly ground black pepper

To serve:

a good handful of rocket (arugula)

4 ciabatta buns


Hake has a good sturdy texture that is great as a burger – think of these as giant fish fingers in a bun – but you could use any chunky white fish here. They are best cooked in a pan over the fire as you want a good amount of oil to get the all-important crispy bread crumbs. Genevieve Taylor loves membrillo, a tart sticky paste made from slow-cooked quinces. Normally served alongside cheese, here it adds a sweet and sour note to the chutney. It’s pretty easy to find these days, definitely online, or make friends with someone who has a quince tree, as they are likely to have a tonne of the stuff.

Here is how to make the hake burgers…

  1. For the chutney, set a small saucepan on the hob over a medium heat and pour in the olive oil. Add the tomatoes, garlic and chilli flakes, if using, and cook for a few minutes until the tomatoes have collapsed. Add the membrillo and sherry vinegar and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook for another few minutes, stirring until the membrillo has dissolved, then remove from the heat, scoop into a bowl and set aside to cool.
  2. When you are ready to cook, fire up the barbecue ready for direct grilling. Tip the breadcrumbs into a bowl and stir through the smoked paprika and a generous grind of salt and pepper. Crack the egg into another bowl and lightly beat with a fork. Add the flour to a third bowl. Toss the fillets about in the flour to coat all over, then dip into the egg until evenly covered. Add to the bowl of breadcrumbs and flip over a couple of times so each one is evenly coated in crumbs. Line up on a plate. If your hands get unbearably messy, stop, wash and begin again.
  3. Drizzle a little olive oil over the aubergine slices and season with Maldon Sea Salt and pepper. Set on the grill bars over the fire and grill until lightly charred all over. Slide away from the fire so they keep warm and set a flameproof frying pan over the fire to heat up. Pour in a good amount of olive oil so it coats the pan by a couple of millimetres. Once the oil is hot, add the crumbed fish and fry for a couple of minutes on each side until crisp and golden. Use a temperature probe to test the fish for doneness – it should be 60°C (140°F)deep in the centre. Slide the pan off the heat a little if the crumbs are colouring too quickly so the fish can finish cooking. Once the fish is done, split the buns open and toast briefly on the cut side. To serve, add a little rocket to the base of each bun, then add the fish and a couple of slices of aubergine.
  4. Finish with a dollop of the chutney, top with the bun lid and tuck in.

Purchase ‘SCORCHED’ by Genevieve Taylor

Live-fire expert Genevieve Taylor covers everything you’ll ever need to know about buying and cooking all kinds of fish in her third cookbook: Scorched. From cooking whole dish, fillets, shellfish to burgers and skewers, this is the ultimate guide to barbecuing fish!

You can purchase your very own copy here, where you can become inspired with over 85 recipes and gain insight on how to set up your barbecue, sourcing your fuel and lighting your fire.

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