Catfish Burgers with Green Tomato Vidalia Onion Relish & Smoky Tartar Sauce Coleslaw
The deep South is known for it’s simple and delicious, yet unpretentious foods.As a result, Southerners have long had an affinity for catfish, green tomatoes & Vidalia onions and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a locally owned restaurant in Alabama that doesn’t have at least one or more of these items on their menus. And of course, if you’ve ever eaten in a “Catfish Cabin” you’ll know that coleslaw is mandatory with any of the dinner plates, as are the hushpuppies, but we’ll save those for another cooking competition. For now, I’ve compiled the main elements of these Southern favorites into one burger. Enjoy!
4 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup green bell pepper, very finely diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, very finely diced
2 Tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons lemon zest
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/4 teaspoons onion powder
2 lbs catfish fillets
3 Tablespoons Colavita extra virgin olive oil
3 cups green tomatoes, diced
3/4 cup Vidalia onion (or other sweet onion), diced
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chives, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Chipotle Tabasco sauce
5 Tablespoons gherkins, finely diced
1 1/2 lemon, juiced
Oil for brushing grill rack and patties
6 seedless hamburger buns, split
1/2 lemon, for juicing cooked patties
8 ounces pre-shredded coleslaw mix (green & purple cabbage with carrots)
Preheat grill to medium heat.
To make the patties, process the bread slices in a food processor until they are fine crumbs. Place the bread crumbs in a large mixing bowl and add the green bell pepper, red bell pepper, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, salt, lemon zest, mayonnaise, and onion powder. Mix all of the ingredients together. Cut the catfish into cubes and transfer it to a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse the food processor until the catfish is lightly ground, and then transfer it to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients. Thoroughly combine all of the ingredients and shape into 6 equal size patties. Place patties on a platter, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
To make the relish, preheat olive oil in a medium sized, fireproof saucepan on the grill. Add the green tomatoes, onion, salt, sugar and vinegar and stir to combine. Allow relish to simmer until almost all of the liquid has evaporated, about 7-10 minutes. Transfer relish to a bowl and set aside to cool.
To make the tartar sauce, combine the mayonnaise, chives, Tabasco sauce, gherkins and lemon juice in a small bowl. Stir well to combine, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
Brush the grill and each side of the patties generously with olive oil to prevent sticking. Grill the patties for 4-5 minutes on each side. During the last minute of grilling, toast the buns by placing the cut sides down on the outer edges of the grill rack.
To assemble the burgers, spread equal amounts of the relish on the bun bottoms and top with a patty. Sprinkle some fresh lemon juice onto each patty. Toss the coleslaw mix with the tarter sauce until well combined. Place equal amounts of the slaw on each patty, add the bun top and serve.