I’m capturing a childhood classic with a healthy twist in another #healthunhelath episode. It’s a bit of a throwback to the substantial amount of fish in Maccas Filet-o-fish back in the good ol’ days, and a reaction to the growingly disproportioned amount of tartare sauce vs fish vs bun (or maybe the fillet just looked bigger when I was little because I was child …).
A regular fish burger from a fast food chain generally consists of a white bun, cheese, tartare sauce and crumbed fish. Taking McDonalds as a quick reference:
- The tartare sauce ingredients: Pickles, Water, Soybean Oil, Distilled Vinegar, Onions and Onion Extracts, Modified Corn Starch, Egg Yolks, Corn Syrup Solids, Sugar, Salt, Vegetable Gum (415), Capers, Preservative (202), Dextrose, + some dried herbs and spices.
- The fish fillet ingredients: Fish (phew!) + Wheat Flour, Modified Food Starch (1422), Yellow Corn Flour, Bleached Wheat Flour, Salt, Whey, Cellulose Gum, Dextrose, Dried Yeast, Sugar, Soybean Oil, + some spices.
This will set you back just under $5 ($4.95, the last time I checked – November 2018). Sounds cheap, but how much of your money is going towards actual wholesome, nutritious ingredients?
If you select from a more gourmet range, or cafe, you might get coleslaw, side of salad or chips … but this will set you back double or triple Fillet-o-Fish. That said, I found a fish and chips store* which serves fish burgers for $7.40 and comes with lettuce, tomato, carrot, beetroot and cheese!
*Out of the Blue at Clovelly
Fishing for nourishing benefits
Eating more fish is linked with lower cardiovascular disease risks and early preventable death. On a day to day basis, they also make affordable, lean sources of protein, iodine, vitamin D and an alternative to the traditional red meat at the BBQ, restaurant and (of course) burger store. While all fish species are great the ones which are particularly high in EPA and DHA, omega-3 fats, are sardines, salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna and anchovies. Omega-3 fats have protective benefits for inflammation, brain health and mood as well as heart health. Baking fish or cooking at a moderate temperature do NOT destroy the nutritional value of fish. On the other hand, highly processed fish is a different story and should therefore be avoided.
Studies have also found that your body absorbs and uses omega-3 fats more effectively from food sources (like fish) compared to fish oil supplements – so back to my message of food first! How much to enjoy? Recommendations are 2 serves of fish per week – that’s about 200-300g of fish (uncooked weight). As a starter, try the recipe below. Feel free to substitute the white fish I used for those listed above – but note that white fish species can have just as much omega-3 as tuna.
Lighter, sea-breezy sauce options
Tartare sauces, as you read earlier, is essentially like mayo. Oil, sugar, egg, salt, vinegar. The overly-generous squirt (or sometimes scoop) of sauce on your burger or fish can really add up, especially if you’ve already got a side of chips and the fish is battered/deep fried too.
There are lighter options that you can try instead. Tzatziki is a yoghurt based sauce made with yoghurt, cucumber, garlic and lemon, and it makes a great alternatively to tartare sauce – still creamy and flavoursome! I have tried my recipe below with Chobani Herbed Tzatziki and Obela Classic Tzatziki dips and both commercial options worked well.
Costs: $5.90 ($2.95 per serve)
Cooking time: 40 mins
- 2 fillets basa or firm white fish (approx 100g each; see Notes)
- 1/2 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, finely crushed (see Notes)
- 1 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 bread rolls (I used Coles high fibre low GI soft buns, but other wholegrain or sourdough bun works too)
- 4 large leaves oak lettuce, roughly torn
- 1 medium tomato, sliced into rounds
- 2 tbsp tzatziki dip (I used Chobani Meze Dip Herbed Tzatziki; see above blog for info)
- Olive oil spray
- Black pepper, cracked
- Sweet potato chips and salad, to serve (optional, see Notes)
Let’s get cooking:
- Preheat oven at 200°C. Line two large baking trays with baking paper and spray with olive oil spray.
- Pat dry the fish fillets with paper towels. If necessary, halve fillets to fit the shape of your burger buns.
- In three separate bowls, place flour, lightly whisked egg, and panko breadcrumbs.
- In order: coat fillets in flour, dust off excess and transfer to plate with whisked egg. Dip fillets in egg to coat, drip off excess and transfer to plate with panko breadcrumbs. Press panko breadcrumbs onto fillets to coat, and then transfer to one of the lined baking trays.
- Sprinkle fillets with parmesan and cracked black pepper, and spray with olive oil. Bake for 30mins, turning over halfway.
- To serve, halve buns horizontally, spread bases with a teaspoon of tzatziki and top with lettuce, sliced tomatoes, fish fillets, remaining tzatziki and bun tops. Serve immediately with sweet potato chips and a quick salad side, if you like.
- You can use fresh or frozen fillets – if frozen, leave them in a shallow dish in the morning to thaw before you start cooking.
- If you ended up with bulkier/coarser breadcrumbs, pour them in a zip lock bag, half-close and whack breadcrumbs with a rolling pin (fully closing the bag will cause a vaccum and you may burst the bag open).
- For homemade sweet potato chips, cut sweet potato into 1-2cm thick chips and lay them in a single layer over the second lined baking tray. Add tray to oven along with fish for the last 20mins, tossing once in the middle.
- For a quick salad idea, toss handfuls of baby spinach, cherry tomatoes (or an extra medium tomato diced) and a chopped cucumber in a splash of balsamic vinegar.
- Amp up the veggie serves of this burger with some sliced roasted capsicum, zucchini and spread some mashed avocado.
One burger provides 1.5 serves of wholegrains and half a serve of veggies (not much). All the more reason to add some of those veggie add-ons.
|Total fat (g)||21.4|
|– Saturated fat (g)||6.0|
|– Sugars (g)||6.0|