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.
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,
Serve garnished with the cooked razor clam meat, parsley juice and purslane or salad of choice.
© 2008 Anthony Demetre. All rights reserved.