Friday, May 31, 2013

This Burger Has No Integrity

In Jerusalem, the photo of Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion & Cumin (recipe on 200) is gorgeous. Bright green shreds of zucchini contrast against the reddish browning on the patties. Irresistible.

They didn't turn out at all as I expected.  The outcome may have been different if there was a step in which you drained the shredded zucchini for a half hour, but there wasn't, so these burgers were wet. I don't mean that they were moist and delicious. I mean that they were wet. I found it unpleasant to eat, and they were hard to cook. Because they were so wet, the patties lacked integrity and were falling apart in the pan. Very difficult to flip. The zucchini released so much water that the oil was spitting all over my stovetop. It aggravated me, because it felt like a poorly written recipe. Something must have been missing, because I can't imagine they're meant to be so difficult to work with. I did not make the yogurt dressing for the burgers, because I'm not supposed to eat dairy on my diet. I'm sure the sauce would have jazzed it up a bit, but the burgers themselves weren't very flavorful, despite all the mint, cilantro, garlic, cumin, cayenne, and sumac (which wasn't technically part of the burger recipe, but it was part of the sauce, so I added it to my meat). If I had to describe these burgers in one word, I'd stick with "wet."
They looked much more fetching in the book.
Conclusion: Disliked. I didn't even keep the leftovers. Charlie did eat half a patty, but I disliked these enough that I will not be making them again.

I also made Spicy Carrot Salad (pg 65). I was excited to try out my new tube of harissa paste. Holy mother of God. A tablespoon of harissa is WAY TOO MUCH spice for 3 stinkin' carrots. I'm just glad I'd halved the recipe, because this salad was inedible. Even Matt, who enjoys much hotter food than I do, stopped at one carrot slice. These went right into the garbage.
Conclusion: Hated it.

I'm beginning to suspect that Ottolenghi and I have very different food preferences. Too many of these recipes are too much--too salty, too spicy--for my taste. However, the ones that are good are great, and there are lots more I want to try. It's unsettling to me that the recipes yield such unreliable results, though.


  1. I love Harissa, but in small doses (I've cleaned out my nasal passages on more than one occasion with that stuff).

    Bummer about the burgers :-(