Stunt Burger Saturday: The Richard Blais Vegan Burger
After last week's mountain of meat (and because I've had nuts and berries on the brain after seeing what to feed to your vampire), I decided this week I'd make the most interesting veggie burger I could find.
I landed on Top Chef All-Stars winner and Flip Burger maestro Richard Blais. Since he's a bit of a mad scientist, I knew his recipe would be interesting, but it's also surprisingly easy. No liquid nitrogen, no lab equipment, just a bunch of plants in a food processor. (Get Richard Blais' full vegan burger recipe at Food + Wine.)
Really, all you do with this recipe is pulse ground porcini, cooked edamame and lentils, toasted almonds, raisin, cooked Israeli couscous, lemon juice and curry powder. Here's what mine looked like.
You'll reserve half of the Israeli couscous to fold into the mix. Throw it into the fridge for about 20 minutes to firm it up. (I have no idea why Blais divided into bowls lined with plastic -- I tossed the whole thing into a single bare bowl and it worked fine.)
Form into patties and fry.
Serve with an herb salad and ketchup mixed with pomegranate molasses.
Together at last.
So what's the stunt in this burger? For me, it was the flavor profile. I'm not a fan of the sweet/savory thing. I shudder at the thought of Hawaiian pizza. There are exceptions. I like my fries with a bit of ketchup, and I love Thai and Vietnamese flavors when he sweet is balanced by tart, hot AND savory.
The verdict: The burger itself was totally savory -- the raisins melted into the background the way prunes do in certain braised dishes. The curry was also muted. The dominant flavor was mushroom, especially the ground porcini.
Texturally, the whole couscous had a nice chew, but the patty was a little mushy. Next time, I'll double the nuts to give it more structure.
I was scared of the pomegranate ketchup -- especially in the amounts Blais uses in the video -- and I was right to be. It was way sweet, and I don't love ketchup on burgers anyway. The one thing the burger lacks is a hot component, so I dabbed a little of the pom-ketchup into a lotta Sriracha, and I was in flavor heaven. All I needed was a bottle of vampire-approved wine and my Saturday night was set.
(Note: Unless there's something I don't know about my husband, I didn't actually serve this to a vampire -- I just got a little carried away after reading A Discovery of Witches.)
What's your favorite veggie burger?