Tuesday, May 3, 2011

shiitake turkey burgers with scallion-sesame mayo and pickled korean radishes

asian turkey burger, pickled radish, scallion sesame mayo and baked sweet potato fries
i saw a really delicious-sounding recipe
last weekend for shrimp burgers.
on wednesday, i really wanted to use
that i had just made for something
more than snacking.
so, i did the only thing that made sense:
i made turkey burgers.

clearly, burgers were on my brain
and i kept thinking about traditional
cheeseburgers (why? i'm not sure):
and, usually, pickles.

so, instead i strayed:
korean-inspired turkey burgers
(that quickly made the leap to asian
burgers when i started tossing every
sauce in my fridge into the bowl),
enhanced with shiitake mushrooms
and topped with a
sesame-scallion mayo instead of ketchup.
skip the cheese.
and instead of the cucumber pickles,
neon pink radish wedges.

i decided to wing it,
buying whatever looked good to me
in the produce department, from
gigantic shiitake mushrooms,
to scallions, a firm jalapeno
and knobby ginger.

when i got home, i diced the mushrooms,
and reasoned that in spite of the fact
that i just didn't want to dirty another
pan, i really should saute them first.
so, i heated a bit of oil, added the
mushrooms, followed by the ginger,
jalapeno and garlic, cooking them all until they
were just tender and fragrant.

as soon as the mixture was out of the pan,
i stirred in the scallions,
sesame seeds,
sesame oil
hoisin and
oyster sauce.

the made-up mixture was spicy,
and even though i reasoned that
all the turkey would mellow it,
i still opted to make a very
gently-flavored spread to
smear over the burger:
and sesame oil.
it was...fine.
sesame scallion mayo
yes, on it's own, it was
ok. with the burger, it
was better. is it worth it
to make again? i really
don't know. i do know that
i wanted it to be fabulous.
but, sometimes, as in life,
things just aren't.

it was a good burger.
still spicy after cooking,
moist thanks to the mushrooms
and packed with all of my favorites.
but, i wasn't as original
as i believed i was.
while assembling, i
realized that they were a
clear imitations of one of my
very favorites: turkey meatball banh mi.
but, these tasted even better because we
ate them in the daylight.
and that?
that was fabulous.
shiitake, scallion and ginger turkey burger
shiitake turkey burgers with scallion-sesame mayo and pickled korean radishes
i made some interesting choices with these burgers. an avid lover of sticky sweet hoisin sauce, i added a spoonful before considering the consequences. it was already stirred in before i thought about the fact that these burgers were sure to burn, thanks to the sugars in the sauce. since i had already taken a wrong turn, i thought stirring in equally sugary oyster sauce seemed like a good idea. i also added in sesame seeds, which i loved - but i'm pretty sure some of those burned, too. at that point, the more the merrier, right? if you worry that the burgers charring a few minutes before they're finished will bother you, maybe think about removing these ingredients from the turkey and instead, adding the sauces to mayo. maybe.

a note about the toasted sesame seeds. i buy them from the asian markets, toasted, in large quantities and on the cheap. totally worth it.

scallion-sesame mayo
i think it's safe to say that you will have more mayonnaise than you need. that's ok - even not-so-exciting mayo has it's uses.

3 large scallions, trimmed and sliced
2 small cloves garlic, peeled and halved
2/3 cup reduced-fat mayo
1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

in mini food processor, pulse scallions and garlic 10 times, or until finely chopped. add mayo, sesame oil and a pinch of kosher salt. process 30 seconds, or until well combined, scraping down sides, if necessary. taste and adjust seasoning, if desired.

shiitake turkey burgers
2 teaspoons grapeseed or canola oil
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and cut into 1/4" dice
1 (1-inch piece) gingerroot, peeled and finely diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced (use only half if you want to tone down the spice)
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced
3 large scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 heaping tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon hot chili sauce, like sriracha
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 1/4 pounds ground dark turkey
4 buns, halved (it's a nice echo if they're sesame buns)
scallion-sesame mayo
pickled korean purple radishes, dried with a paper towel

in medium skillet over medium heat, heat oil 30 seconds, or until shimmering. add mushrooms; cook 2 minutes, or until softened, stirring often. add ginger and jalapeno; cook 1 minute, more. add garlic; cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly. remove from heat and immediately transfer to large mixing bowl. stir in scallions, sesame seeds, soy, hoisin, oyster and chili sauces and sesame oil; season gently with salt and black pepper. let cool completely.

add turkey to bowl; using hands, mix just until combined. separate into four equal patties.

heat grill or grill pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. add burgers. cook 10 minutes, or until cooked through and no longer pink in the center, turning once. transfer to plate. place buns on grill and cook 1 minute, or until toasted and golden brown (do yourself a favor and check them midway through in case your grill runs hot).

to assemble: place one burger on bottom of each bun. top with pickled radishes. spread top bun with mayo and place on burger. if you happen to have made baked sweet potato fries during this whole thing - all the better. put those on the other side of your plate. you may find yourself thinking the scallion-sesame mayo isn't all that bad on the tip of a fry.


Anonymous said...

What an perfect coincidence..we're making turkey burgers in our house tomorrow night! Now I'm craving them even more.

brooke said...

i have been in a burger kind of place lately, so i'm a little jealous. what kind are guys making?

Anonymous said...

Onions and garlic with BBQ Sauce...simple but so good!