South Beach Tilapia Burger with Caramelized Plantains and Toasted Coconut Butter

Pairs well with:

Sauvignon Blanc

With hints of passion fruit, melon, and citrus, this wine beckons you to kick back and find a perfect porch swing.

I LOOOVEE South Beach in Miami so I decided to create a burger that captures the vibrant flavors of South Beach, in Miami.It’s a colorful mix of Caribbean, tropical, and Cuban flavors. A flavorful patty made from tilapia is topped with Caramelized Plantains and is served on an Cuban bread with lettuce and a huge wallop of Toasted Coconut Butter. You really can’t go wrong with this burger. It truly is a Miami taste sensation!


Toasted Coconut Butter:
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces

Caramelized Plantains:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 large black (ripe) plantain, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices on a diagonal

1 3/4 pounds fresh tilapia filets, finely chopped
3/4 cup bread crumbs made from Cuban bread (can put bread in the food processor)
3 tablespoons lime juice
6 green onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 pieces Cuban bread, cut into bun-sized pieces
3 ounces baby spinach leaves


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

In order to make the toasted coconut butter, add the coconut to a large fireproof non-stick skillet and cook on the grill over high heat, stirring occasionally, until toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Place the toasted coconut in the bowl of a food processor and process for about two seconds. Add the butter to the food processor; process until well combined. Remove the mixture to a small bowl.

In order to make the caramelized plantains, add the oil and brown sugar to a large fireproof non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the plantains and cook on each side for about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the plantains to a plate and set aside.

In order to make the patties, combine the tilapia, bread crumbs, lime juice, green onions, cumin, garlic, mint, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and flatten into 6 disks. Place a tablespoon of the Toasted Coconut Butter in the center of each disk, then bring up the meat to enclose the butter. Form into six patties to fit the buns.

Brush the grill rack with oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until the tilapia patty is just barely cooked through, about 3 minutes on each side. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.

In order to assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of Toasted Coconut Butter on the cut sides of the buns. On each bun bottom, place some baby spinach leaves, a patty, and 2-3 slices of caramelized plantains. Add the bun tops and serve.

Makes 6 burgers.