“You should make patties.”

I’m staring at a pound of snapper, wondering how we’re going to eat our fish tonight (175 pounds is in the freezer … you can read about how it got there here), when my youngest walks through the kitchen.

“We make hamburger patties. Why not fish patties?”


And that’s how last night’s dinner was born: Herb and mustard snapper patties, spiked with onion, fennel and wine. Served with bun and tartar sauce or eaten in their naked glory, they were tender, flavorful and a much needed break from fillets.

Now … how can I make my fish tonight?

fish cooked

Vermilion Snapper Patties

Use any delicate fish for these grilled cakes.

  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 fennel bulb
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 4 snapper fillets (about a pound)
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Place the onion, fennel, garlic, chives, basil and thyme in the bowl of a food processor. Whir until finely ground:

fish filling

Move the mixture to a bowl, then put the fish fillets in the processor. Finely chop the fish, then add it to your bowl:

fish mixture

Stir in the remaining ingredients, tossing gently to combine.

Scoop 1/3 cupfuls of the fish mixture into your hands and form patties. Place the patties on waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes:

fish in patties

Heat your grill and grease it well. Cook the fish 4 minutes on one side and 2 minutes on the other. Serve immediately.