From Our Food and Drink Archives

Fish Burger with Lemon Aïoli

This grown-up sandwich is a hearty way to showcase fresh white fish. Although the aïoli here is not authentic, olive-oil mayonnaise (Hellmann’s makes a good one) helps create a first-rate approximation. Serve with a heap of potato chips and a dill pickle for a retro meal with sophisticated flavours.



½ cup (125 mL) olive-oil mayonnaise
1 to 2 large cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp (2 mL) rasped or finely grated lemon zest
1 tbsp (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ tsp (2 mL) Dijon mustard
Pinch chopped parsley (or to taste)



1 lb (500 g) fresh skinless boneless white fish, such as tilapia (see TIP)
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1½ cups (375 mL) fresh white bread crumbs, divided
1 tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped parsley
1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 mL) olive oil
1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 mL) butter
4 square slices (or equivalent) orange cheddar cheese, preferably medium or old
4 Italian or ciabatta buns
2 tomatoes, sliced
4 slices sweet onion such as Vidalia


  1. To make aïoli, whisk mayonnaise with garlic, lemon zest and juice, and mustard. Add parsley. Cover and refrigerate for up to a day.
  2. To make burgers, pat fish dry with paper towels. Cut fish into large chunks; place in a food processor. Add salt and pepper. Pulse until just chopped and resembling hamburger. Transfer to a mixing bowl; stir in egg, green onion and 1 cup (250 mL) bread crumbs. Form into 4 patties about ¾ inch (2 cm) thick. Stir remaining ½ cup (125 mL) bread crumbs with parsley; spread on a plate. Coat patties on both sides with bread crumb mixture. (Patties can be covered and refrigerated for up to half a day.)
  3. When ready to serve, heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) each of olive oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Sauté patties, turning once and topping with cheese, for 8 to 10 minutes per side or until deeply golden; add more oil and butter as needed. 
  4. Meanwhile, heat or toast buns. Place patties on bottom halves of buns. Dollop patties with aïoli, add slices of tomato and onion, and perch top buns slightly off to side.
Makes 4 generous burgers 
TIP Tilapia is farmed in Ontario and has a mild flavour and good texture. However, other fish such as halibut or haddock works well too. If using frozen fish, defrost it and then use several paper towels to dry fish thoroughly before using.


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