The burger craze doesn’t seem to have left a stone unturned. New York, London, Paris, Stockholm--every city I visit has any number of burger bars touting gourmet beef patties in soft brioche buns. Don’t get me wrong, I love a burger! But after seeing all that meat, I find myself craving something a little lighter and fresher tasting. Wrap your hand round this cauliflower cheeseburger, take a big bite, and let some of the juice dribble down your hand ... just like the real deal!
For the caramelized onion chutney
1/4 cup butter
4 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp raisins, finely chopped
2 tbsp light brown sugar
For the burgers
1 very small head cauliflower, trimmed and separated into florets
1 1/4 cups drained canned navy beans
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
5 oz mature Cheddar cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Sprinkling of grated nutmeg
Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
1 tbsp chopped toasted hazelnuts sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 egg white
2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
1 head oak leaf or other leaf lettuce
1 tomato, sliced
To make the caramelized onion chutney: Melt the butter in a frying pan over low heat, then add the onions and salt. Sauté for about 20 minutes, or until sticky and soft. Add the vinegar, raisins, and brown sugar, and cook for another 5 minutes, or until glossy and reduced. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Set aside.
Steam the cauliflower florets for 7 to 8 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the heat, drain, and leave in the colander to cool.
When the cauliflower is cool, put the navy beans in a food processor and pulse, then add the cauliflower and pulse lightly. You don’t want to overwork or the mixture will get sloppy. Transfer to a bowl and add 1 tbsp of the bread crumbs. Grate a little more than half of the Cheddar and add it to the bowl, along with the parsley, nutmeg, lemon zest, and hazelnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Using the palms of your hands, form the mix into six 2½-in round patties.
Lightly whisk the egg white in a bowl, and put the rest of the bread crumbs on a plate. Brush each patty all over with egg white and press into the crumbs, making sure each patty is well covered.
Heat the oil into a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook the patties in batches for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until crisp and golden. Slice the remaining Cheddar and put a slice on top of each patty while in the pan to melt. Place each patty in a lettuce leaf, add a slice of tomato, and serve with a generous spoonful of chutney.
Tip: Serve with toasted pita bread or on a brioche bun if you want a more classic burger.
Get ahead: Once formed, you can freeze the patties on a tray until firm, then transfer to a resealable bag and store in the freezer. Then defrost, coat in egg white and bread crumbs, and fry as directed.
Reprinted with permission from Rachel Khoo's Kitchen Notebook by Rachel Khoo, photographs by David Loftus (Chronicle Books, 2015).
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