Fire up the barbie! Guy Awford gets ready to embrace National BBQ Week (running 30 May to 5 June) with a recipe for grilled hake burger with tomato and chipotle relish, watercress and radish

There’s a primitive satisfaction to cooking outside over charcoal. It may seem instinctive, but in reality it takes a lot of practice to perfect a good barbecue technique. The best barbecues have a strong even heat which allows you to control the cooking; they are never so fierce that the food burns before it cooks.

Once you have perfected your technique there is a whole array of amazing dishes that you can cook. I love barbecuing fish, but fish burgers are great too. You can use cod or coley, but hake is meaty enough to make into a patty, sustainable and relatively cheap. The addition of eggs and breadcrumbs improves the texture and ensures the burger stays together.

To make the relish, blitz 250g of ripe tomatoes with a clove of garlic, a pinch of grated ginger and 2 red chillies – with seeds if you want it hot. Place in a heavy-based saucepan and add 150g of unrefined caster sugar, a slug of fish sauce, a teaspoon of smoked paprika, 2 chopped chipotle chilies and 50ml of red wine vinegar. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes until the mixture has turned dark and sticky. It can be stored in sterilised jars.

Print BBQ hake burger with tomato and chipotle relish, watercress and radish Prep Time 30 Cook Time 6 Serves 5


750g hake fillet, skinned and bones removed
3 spring onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh marjoram, chopped
zest 1 lemon
1 egg
125g breadcrumbs
5 burger buns
100g watercress
2 radishes
tomato & chipotle relish
2 plum tomatoes, sliced
salt & pepper
Blend the hake for about 1 minute in a food processor.
Tip into a large bowl and beat in the onions, garlic, herbs, egg & breadcrumbs and season.
At this stage it is good to fry off a little piece of the patty mix to check the seasoning. You can then adjust to taste.
Chill for at least 1 hour to set.
Cook on the barbecue for a couple of minutes on each side. Grill the buns, spread on some relish, then add in the hake burger, watercress and radish.

By Guy Awford

Guy Awford

is chef-patron of and 

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