I am in the throws of developing a vegetarian burger for a new gourmet burger restaurant and wanted to present a few concepts to the client. I adore aubergine, and its the perfect vegetable to turn into a burger with substance. I immediately remembered my friend Alida’s delicious aubergine and feta fritters which I tasted and loved at a party last year, and knew this was what I wanted to make.
I made a few changes because I used 3 large aubergines and cooked them like I did with my wedges recipe.It uses less oil.
What you need to make this:
- 3 large aubergines cut into wedges
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic – crushed
- 2 cups of bread crumbs
- 2 t cumin
- 2 T chopped parsley
- 1 T chopped mint
- 1/2 chilli flakes (can add a bit more if you like heat)
- 3 rounds of feta / 180g crumbled
- flour for dusting
- olive oil for frying
- salt + pepper
For the creme fraiche dip:
- 250gm tub of creme fresh
- 1/4 cup or 4 Tbs of good quality mayonnaise (I use Miracle Whip Lite)
- zest from 1/2 a lemon
- 2 T lemon juice
- 2 Tbs of finely chopped fresh mint
- salt and a generous grinding of black pepper
Heat your oven to 180C and cook the aubergines as I have done here. Fry the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes until it softens.
In a food processor briefly whizz the onions and garlic with all the other ingredients except the aubergines. When the aubergines come out the oven, allow them to cool slightly and place about a half in the processor and pulse briefly. Chop the other half fairly finely. Empty the food processor mixture into a bowl and by hand stir the chopped aubergines through. The processed aubergines hold everything together and hand chopped ones give the burger a bit of texture. Roll them into balls and press into a patty. Dust with flour and put in the fridge to chill. I did this so they would hold together when frying but Im not sure its necessary. Fry until golden brown on either side.
Mix all the creme fraiche dip ingredients together and serve this on the burger in a toasted bun with salad.
I was busy in my kitchen making a few other things so had some guacamole, lightly pickled red onions and fresh coriander lying around. I made some of the burger mixture into smaller and flatter cakes and fried these. I topped them with all the above mentioned ingredeints and they turned into a fantastic party snack. The burger would be sensational with these ingredients too and would instantly turn them into a spectacular Mexican vegetarian burger.
I make guacamole in various ways and for these I did a very easy version of smashed avocado, finely chopped pickled jalapeno chillis, a squirt of lime juice, salt and pepper. I left the coriander out because I piled on the fresh leaves at the end.
To lightly pickle the red onions, simply slice one up and soak for a min of 4 hours in red wine vinegar. This is how they do them at my favourite Cape Town Mexican restaurant El Burro.