Cheese and Burger Summer Series: Wisconsin Whitefish Feta Burger

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by Megan from The Fresh Exchange

It’s full-on summer all across the country right now. Lemonade stands are popping up, campfires are being lit and grills are in their prime season. But this summer, why not mix it up a little? Invite your friends over and show them something different than the classic burger and hot dog.

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Living along the shores of Lake Michigan, freshwater fish such as salmon, lake trout and whitefish are not just available, they are abundant, especially during the seasonal transitions. So for all of you who are maybe trying to reduce the amount of ground and red meats in your diet, don’t feel like you have to give up the grilling season just because you can’t have that classic burger. Instead, mix it up with this burger, which is shockingly low in fish flavor and sturdy enough to stand up to the grates of the grill.

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You can have it on a bun, toss it on top of lettuce from the garden or even on a bed of seasoned rice. Serve it alongside sautéed kale and fresh-cut veggies to make a healthy meal without giving up flavor.

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Wisconsin Whitefish Feta Burger with Garlic Lemon Aioli and Red Cabbage Poblano Slaw
by Megan from The Fresh Exchange
Wisconsin Whitefish Feta Burger
1 large fresh whitefish from the market (you can also use cod, salmon or trout depending on availability)
Olive oil
2 large farm-fresh eggs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 tablespoon whole-seed mustard
Pinches of flour
Handful of parsley
1 cup crumbled Wisconsin Feta
6 garlic cloves
Handful of chopped green onions
1 lemon
Dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper
Handmade bun (optional; can substitute fresh greens or rice)

Red Cabbage Poblano Slaw

1 small red cabbage, chopped
1 poblano pepper, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar


Garlic Lemon Aioli

1/2 cup mayonnaise
Juice from half a lemon
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely crumbled Wisconsin Feta


To begin, heat your oven to 400° and set one rack in the upper-middle of the oven. Place aluminum foil on a broiling pan and then layer with parchment paper. Place the filet on top of the parchment paper. Splash  fish with olive oil, spreading it evenly. Thinly slice half of your lemon and place the slices on top of the filet. Peel and roughly chop 3-4 cloves of garlic and sprinkle them on top of the filet. Finally, sprinkle the filet with salt and pepper, and fold the parchment paper and aluminum over the filet to create a nice envelope for it to cook in. Place it on the rack and set the timer for 20 minutes.


While the filet is cooking, warm up the grill to medium-high and prep the aioli. Add all ingredients together in a small bowl, stir well and set in the fridge to keep cool. The lemon will make the mayo separate on some level, but mixing it well will make it come back together.


For the slaw, wash the cabbage, dry the outside and finely chop, placing it in a bowl. Next, wash and finely chop the poblano pepper, adding to the same bowl. Last, pour in the oil and coat mixture evenly. Repeat with the apple cider vinegar. Set the slaw aside.


At this point your whitefish filet should be done. Remove from oven and open the enveloped aluminum to expose the filet. Using a fork, test the texture of the meat, making sure it is flaky.


If it is cooked thoroughly, allow the fish to cool; if it is not fully cooked, return to oven for several minutes without refolding the foil.


In a medium-size mixing bowl, add together the oats, eggs, chopped parsley, mustard, Wisconsin Feta, 3-4 finely chopped garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and chopped green onions. If the fish has cooled, flake the filet into the mixing bowl. Mix everything together. If the mixture for the burgers seems wet, use the flour to make it dryer. This will help the burgers form better as well if you are having trouble getting them to mold into patties. If the consistency seems right, use your hands to create 6 patties and set them on a platter.


Place a piece of aluminum foil on the grill and add each patty. Cook patties 5 minutes on each side. They should be slightly browned or golden once finished. Because the fish is already cooked, making sure the egg is well done within the burger is your main priority.


Once the burgers are complete, assemble with the slaw and aioli on the bun, and serve.