15 July 2010

Basil (Baby!) Pesto Turkey Burgers

"A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds." - St. Basil

When I was in college, I worked as a dishwasher/prep cook for a while to help pay my way. Typical story, I know. What was not typical, however, was one of our chefs. He was one of the most nondescript men I've ever met. If you saw him on the street, well-- you might see him, but you'd not pay any attention to him and you certainly wouldn't remember him. Unless he opened his mouth, that is. He was unbelievably energetic when he spoke-- and virtually everything that came out of his mouth was an exercise in alliteration. He punctuated his consonants like a staccato drumbeat and elongated vowel sounds like a comic strip character whose "owwwweeee" stretches across at least 2 or 3 frames. He was my favourite cook for so many reasons (he taught me the trick to making perfectly cooked bacon), but it's the one instance when his verbal alliteration and personality was transmitted into written form that has stuck with me all these years later-- the label he wrote on a container that used to perch on the corner of the shelf above his main stove/workstation: "Basil (Baby!)" Since that time in college, I cannot say "basil" without adding the "(Baby!)" after it.

I don't remember that cook's name anymore, but this Basil (Baby!) recipe is in honour of him. These burgers were discovered by my sister and have been lauded by her husband (who is very much a steak-and-potatoes guy), my in-laws (also more plain hamburger types), my cousins (who are fructose intolerant and can't eat beef), and by a handful of my Nestie message board ladies. They are quick and easy to make and take only 10 minutes to cook on the grill. And I'm thinking this would be an easy recipe to adjust for a meatloaf instead of burgers once the weather gets colder...

Basil (Baby!) Pesto Turkey Burgers
source: adapted from ELADOUSA, www.allrecipes.com
yield: 4 burgers (a little over 1/4 pound each)

1 lb. lean ground turkey
2 T basil pesto
1.5 - 2 tsp. minced garlic (1 large clove = 1 tsp; 1 sm clove = 1/2 tsp)
1/2 -3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1-1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs (I used plain panko bread crumbs and added a mixture of Greek herbs I had on hand)

Preheat (outdoor) grill to medium-high heat. Mix all ingredients together until evenly blended (using your hands is best). Form into 4 patties, about 3/4 of an inch thick. (I used my Typhoon scale to make each patty between 4-5 oz.) Grill burgers until no longer pink in the middle-- roughly 5 minutes each side. Sprinkle with seasoned salt halfway through, if desired (I didn't). Serve plain on bread/roll of your choice with a very little mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato if that's your taste (and times being what they are). I prefer Arnold's Sandwich Thins, myself, as they do not overwhelm or dominate the burger and have no HFCS (hooray!).

1 comment:

  1. I eat Turkey or Chicken burgers, never beef...but have never used pesto to season them, it sounds like such a wonderful idea....wow..so flavorful!
    thanks for the comments on my blog..as for the eggplant, the variety I used contained no seeds at all, and I did not peel them, I roasted the eggplant so it was basically like making a ratatouille, first....you didn't even know there were skins on the eggplant