These incredible mini sardine burgers are a twist on fish burgers, which are full of healthy nutrients and fresh ingredients. Using mainly pantry essentials these patties can be served as burgers or on their own.
Sardines, you either love them or hate them. I’m here to help you appreciate this little fish a bit more. Apart from being easy to prepare and found in abundance; canned or fresh, sardines are one of the most sustainable fish out there. They are also nutrient dense as they have high levels of Omega-3, are an excellent source of Vitamins D and B-12, calcium and protein. Unlike other fish, sardines contain low mercury levels, as they only feed on plankton.
Even though I prefer eating fresh sardines from the grill, canned ones are just as good! Last week while doing our weekly shop at our local store, I saw a brand of canned sardines, which for me brought loads of memories. It was the same brand that my mother buys for my father, as he always has to have a can of sardines in the pantry. Actually, I think that he eats a can every week. When I was a kid I wasn’t a fan of either sardines or anchovies, but as I started growing up I started to actually like these fish, and I owe it to my father. Therefore, when I saw these cans I had to grab some!
Canned sardines are delicious just straight out of the can. However, I decided to spice things up a bit and transform these canned sardines into something fun. I simply used all of the fish and oil from the can, mashed them with a fork inside a bowl. Then I added a shallot, a garlic clove, chili flakes, oregano, rosemary and lemon zest for some seasoning. To bind them, I added some breadcrumbs, an egg and dijon mustard. Carefully, I seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper. Be careful with the salt as the fish is already salty!
Afterwards, I divided the sticky batter into 6 equal portions of about 45g each. I made them as mini burgers. However, if you would like to make these as standard burgers divide the mixture into 2 equal parts. A great thing about these sardine burgers is that they come together in under 10 minutes. They are great for a fast lunch or an easy weeknight dinner. You can either serve them on their own, add them to a salad or, as I will be doing here, as mini sardine burgers.
Anyway you serve them, I recommend serving them with a side of this fresh yogurt sauce. It’s also really easy to mix together and I like to make extra as it goes well with many dishes such as lamb and chicken. All you need are some greek yogurt, lime juice, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. This yogurt sauce, if stored in an air tight container can stay in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Make at home – Roasted Red Peppers
In this recipe, the roasted red peppers are a sweet condiment which balances perfectly with the strong flavour and the saltiness from the sardines. You can use ready bought jarred roasted red peppers, however they’re easy to make fresh at home, as I did!
If you want to make yourself the roasted red peppers, read along and don’t be intimidated as it’s one of the simplest things you can cook. If you have a gas stove, place the pepper directly on the gas burner, turning frequently until all the skin is all nicely charred. We want the pepper’s skin to be black! Do not let the pepper on flames unattended!
You can also do this charring peppers in the oven. Turn the oven to its highest temperature setting, lightly brush the peppers with oil and salt. Place the peppers in a parchment lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for at least 30 minutes. Ideally use oil that has a high smoking point such as canola oil, sunflower oil or vegetable oil. Do not use olive oil as it will burn quickly. Turn frequently so that you get a uniform char on the pepper. In addition, it’s best to place the baking sheet at the top of the oven so that peppers can easily get some nice char. As this is what we want.
Once roasted and you have a nice char on them, place the hot peppers in a bowl and cover with cling film or aluminium foil. Let them rest until cool. Gently remove the skins and the seeds from the inside of the pepper.
Once the peppers are black and charred, take them out, place them in a bowl and cover with cling film or a plate. Let the peppers steam for about 20 minutes, this will help with the removal of the skin. As soon as they are cool, either with a butter knife or a spoon gently remove the charred black skin and discard. Deseed the pepper and cut into your desired shape. Store the red peppers in their juices. Important do not run the peppers under water, as this will remove their juices and flavour.
Assembly of burgers
For these mini sardine burgers, I used mini brioche buns, which I lightly toasted prior serving. I layered the bottom bun with lettuce and added the sardine patty on top. Then I generously layered some roasted red peppers and finished off with a good heap of yogurt sauce.
Other great condiments for these sardine burgers are tzatziki sauce, quick pickle vegetables such as radishes, cucumbers and shallots, or some fresh tomatoes and cucumbers.
Mini Sardine Burgers with roasted red peppers and yogurt sauce
Sardine Burger Patties
- 1 can sardines + oil* 100g fresh sardines
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 lime zest
- 65 g breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes
- 1 tsp fresh oregano or dried
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary or dried
- Salt & pepper
- 125 g Greek yogurt 1/2 cup
- juice from 1 lime
- 2 tbsp fresh basil chiffonade
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano
- Salt & Pepper
- 6 mini burger buns
- Roasted red peppers jarred or fresh
- If you are going to make the roasted red peppers from scratch, start by making them (full method underneath). If using jarred roasted red peppers skip to step 2.
- In a bowl, roughly mash the sardines with a fork.
- To the bowl, add the chopped shallot, minced garlic, lemon zest, breadcrumbs, egg, chili flakes, rosemary and oregano and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Mix well until you achieve a uniform sticky mixture.
- With clean hands, divide the mixture into six and form the patties. Chill for 30 minutes.
- While the patties are chilling, prepare the yogurt sauce by mixing all the ingredients together. Store in the refrigerator.
- In a large frying pan, heat up 2 tbsp olive oil. Cook each sardine patty for 2 minutes on each side, until they get a nice golden brown colour. Place on a tissue paper lined plate so that any excess oil is absorbed.
- Toast the buns lightly until they are golden brown.
- Spread some yogurt sauce on the top bun.
- Start building your burger by layering some lettuce on the bottom bun, sardine patty on top and finally the roasted red peppers. Close with the top bun.
- Serve hot as an appetizer or a meal with some sides!
For the Roasted red pepper
- If using a gas stove: Place the pepper on the gas burner, turning frequently until all the skin is all nicely charred. We want the pepper’s skin to be nicely black. Do not let the pepper on flames unattended! If using the oven: Turn the oven to its highest temperature setting, lightly oil and salt the red pepper and let roast for about 30 minutes. Turn frequently so that you get a uniform char on the pepper.
- Once cooked place the charred peppers in a bowl and cover with cling film or a plate.
- Let the peppers steam for about 20 minutes.
- As soon as they are cool, either with a butter knife or a spoon gently remove the charred black skin and discard.
- Deseed the pepper and cut into your desired shape.
If you have any questions, feedback or comments on this recipe, please leave a comment below. If you did make this recipe, tag @apronandwhisk and hashtag #apronandwhisk, as I’m curious to see what you create!
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