Monday, June 22, 2015

Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin

Happy Summer! Officially as of yesterday, the summer solstice, we can start the celebration. Although summer is the perfect excuse to fire up the grill, I actually made these wonderful turkey and zucchini burgers on my stove-top, featuring wonderful Middle Eastern flavors.

Although they require a bit of oil for cooking, they are otherwise quite healthy, and feature a generous amount of grated zucchini and tons of delicious herbs, really amplifying the tenderness of these delicate, small, bun-less burgers. And PS this is a great way to fool your kids into eating vegetables ;-)

A mixture of mint, scallions, and cilantro make up a bulk of the seasoning along with cumin and a bit of cayenne pepper. I held back on the cayenne since I was also feeding this to my three-year-old nephew, but I'm sure the full amount would pack a great punch if you'd like a little extra heat.

To compliment these summery morsels we have a sauce comprised of sour cream, yogurt, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and sumac, a tart and citrusy purple-hued spice prevalent in Middle Eastern cooking.

I actually doubled this recipe quite easily, and recommend you double it as well since they are so easy to make and wonderful as leftovers. They can be eaten hot or at room temperature, and would be great to pack for a picnic.

Although they're not typically served on buns (slider buns would be more appropriate for their size if you choose to go that route), you could easily stuff them into the pocket of a pita bread half, or even serve them atop a salad.

I actually served one of my favorite summer side dishes to go with these burgers: Tomato Bulgur Pilaf. Together they really showcase some of the summer ingredients I crave most leading up to this season, and also yield quite a colorful plate of food!

Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin
Makes about 16 to 18 small burgers (Serves 4 to 6)
(Adapted from Jerusalem)

1 pound (500 g) ground turkey
1 large zucchini, grated (scant 2 cups/200 g in total)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large egg (I actually forgot to add the egg--oops!--and mine still held together really well without it, but you should probably remember to add it just in case ;-)
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used less to make sure it wasn't too spicy for children to eat as well)
Sunflower, vegetable, or canola oil, for searing

Sour Cream and Sumac Sauce:
Scant 1/2 cup (100 g) sour cream
Scant 2/3 cup (150 g) plain yogurt
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
1 small clove garlic, minced or crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sumac
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

First, make the sour cream sauce by placing all the ingredients in a bowl and mixing well. Refrigerate until needed.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the burgers except the oil. Mix with your hands and then shape into about 16 to 18 burgers, each weight about 1 1/2 oz (45 g).

Pour enough oil into a large frying pan to form a layer about 1/16-inch thick on the pan bottom. Heat over medium-high heat until hot, then sear the burgers in batches on both sides. Cook each batch for about 4 minutes total, adding oil as needed, until golden brown.

Carefully transfer the seared burgers to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until just cooked through. Serve warm or at room temperature with the sauce spooned over or on the side.


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