Saturday, April 12, 2008

CSA bonus week - Spice crusted burgers with scallion-lime slaw

The original recipe I mentioned in my last post called for a 3 inch thick tenderloin, but I'm not a huge fan of steak and the rare occasion I make it, I generally ruin it. On the other hand, I've been craving a hamburger recently so I decided to go that direction.

That same original recipe called for marinating lengths of scallion and then occasionally nibbling on one as you eat your steak. I decided to upgrade that into a full-fledged slaw to incorporate into the burger.

As usual, all measurements are approximate and you should be judging for yourself anyway.

2 scallions, cut into 3-4" lengths and jullianed
1/3 cup green cabbage, sliced thin
1 habenero pepper, seeded and sliced thin
1/4 cup lime juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon peanut or canola oil
1/2 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all and let sit in refrigerator for at least two hours, tossing occasionally.

I was suprised how much this improved over time. As the vegetables wilt and absorb the flavors the slaw goes from lousy to really tasty.

The spice rub I changed a little, mainly by using ground spices instead of crushed. Unfortunately, that meant that when I added the sesame oil everything clumped up. I'd leave it out next time or go with crushed spices if I have everything on hand.

1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
1 teaspoon crushed white peppercorns
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 pinch kosher salt
1 pinch crushed red pepper

I chopped around half a pound of beef in my food processor along with a bit of salt and black and white pepper, then I let it rest in the refrigerator for a couple hours before trying to form it into patties. It seemed to help. Once I had two patties made I pressed in the spice/herb mix and fried them up in a cast iron pan.

I served them on sliced Italian bread with a thin slices of onion and yellow tomato and topped with piles of the slaw (with the marinade drained). I think I used a bit too much of the spice rub for the amount of meat I had, but not a lot too lot so the flavors weren't too unbalanced. The coriander matched well with the lime and the scallions matched with the beef. It was a nice melange all around with some strong flavors balancing against each other. I was pretty happy with it and if I were to make any changes next time (beyond switching to crushed instead of powdered spices), I'd experiment with adding a little mayo. Even with the marinade left on the slaw, the final result was a little dry.

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