Squid and Mackerel Burger with Sea Purslane and Parsley Juice

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When we first opened Arbutus, we had on the menu brochettes of squid and mackerel – a favourite combination of mine – but they didn’t prove very popular. I thought I would try using the ingredients to make a sort of pâté instead and, by some accident, ended up making these burgers, which are now among our most popular items.

Chopping the squid and mackerel with a knife can be a tedious task, but the results are so much better than if you use a mincer or food processor. We serve these burgers with a juice of parsley and sea purslane to give them a sea-fresh finish, but you can just serve them with a parsley juice and any favourite salad leaves.

Ingredients

  • 150 g razor clams
  • 2 good splashes of olive oil
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • 200 g cleaned squid (frozen to tenderize it)
  • 4 medium-to-large mackerel fillets, all bones removed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • Sea purslane and/or your favourite salad leaves

For the Parsley Juice

  • 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley
  • large handful of Sea purslane (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

First prepare the clams: all razor clams are sandy and need soaking and washing in plenty of cold water. Drain well.

Heat half the olive oil in a large pan with a tight-fitting lid and add the clams (they will sizzle but don’t worry). Add the wine and cover quickly. Shake the pan to disturb them, still covered, and cook for about 3 minutes. Take off the heat and drain over a colander, reserving the cooking juices. When cool, pull the meat from the shell and reserve.

To prepare the parsley juice, briefly blanch the picked parsley and purslane, if using it, in a litre of boiling salted water. Drain, reserving some of the liquid, and then refresh in cold water. Drain again and liquidize with a couple of tablespoons of the reserved blanching water and a little of the clam cooking juice to give the consistency of a vinaigrette. Season if necessary and set aside.

Chop the squid and mackerel finely using a chef’s knife. In a large bowl, mix these with all the remaining ingredients except the oil, purslane and cooked clams. Leave to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.

When well chilled, preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6 and mould the mixture into 4 thick (about 2 cm) burgers (you can use cling film to hold the shape). Remove the cling film if using and fry in the olive oil over a high heat until a good golden colour, turning once. Transfer to the oven for 3 minutes only to let them cook through. Do not overcook either in the pan or in the oven, so they stay moist.

Serve garnished with the cooked razor clam meat, parsley juice and purslane or salad of choice.

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