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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Grilled Shrimp Burgers

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
It's summer, and some of us are all about the grill. But there are only so many burgers and tofu dogs one can eat. I was very excited when I spotted this recipe on the food 52 website and then I changed it. The roasted garlic-lemon aioli plays double-duty here: it binds the shrimp burgers and serves as a perfect condiment slathered on a toasted bun. I've added caramelized fennel and shallots, along with red bell pepper, herbs, and lemon zest, to the burgers to up the flavor and complement the aioli. If you don’t feel like lighting the grill you can sauté them in a cast iron pan on the stove-top. This recipe makes 4 patties.

Ingredients for aioli
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for the garlic
1 head garlic
1 cup plus canola oil
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice plus 1 teaspoon finely grated zest (from 1 lemon)
Freshly ground black pepper

Procedure for ailoi
First, roast the garlic: Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Peel away the outer skin of 1 garlic head, and cut off top 1/2 inch of the head to expose the individual cloves. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the garlic head, wrap in foil, and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cloves are soft when pressed. Cool, then squeeze the cloves from their skin. Mash 3 cloves and set aside — reserve the rest for another use.

In your food processor, add the egg yolks. Gradually drizzle in the oil. Toss in a pinch of salt and then the lemon juice, a little at a time (you may not need the full amount), lemon zest and the roasted garlic paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ingredients for burgers
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped fennel, from one small bulb (fronds reserved)
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fennel fronds
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1 tablespoon zest from 1 orange
1 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, finely chopped by hand
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoon roasted garlic-orange aioli
Toasted hamburger buns for serving (brioche is nice)

Procedure for burgers
In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the fennel and shallots and cook until they start to caramelize, about 8 minutes. Add the red bell pepper and cook about 3 minutes longer; you want the pepper to soften but retain its texture. Remove from the heat. Mix in the fennel fronds, chives, and orange zest.

In a bowl, combine the shrimp with the sautéed vegetable-herb mixture and salt and pepper (to taste). Fold in aioli, a teaspoon at a time, to just bind the burgers. Form into four patties, and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a pan (cast iron works well) over medium-high heat and fry the patties until golden, about 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.

Spread the aioli on both sides of the toasted buns; serve the shrimp burgers with your favorite condiments, such as a big leaf of butter crunch lettuce.