If I was told that I had to stop eating meat, the one thing that I couldn’t give up is hamburgers. I don’t know if it’s because it’s such an integral part of our American culinary heritage or if it’s that combination of meat and toppings on a toasted bun, but I do know it’s one of my favorite meals. I’m pretty much of a burger purist. I don’t need a lot of exotic toppings. I’m happy with good cheddar cheese, slivered red onion, lettuce and tomatoes and ketchup. We’re lucky to be able to barbeque outside all year long so whenever the mood strikes, I fire up the grill and make burgers.
Today I decided to try the Turkey Burger on the cover of the August issue of Bon Appetit. I was drawn to this recipe because of the Moroccan-spiced aioli that is first mixed in to the ground turkey and then used as a topping for the finished burger. The smokiness of the paprika combined with the toasted cumin and coriander seeds made the aioli the perfect enhancement for ground turkey, which tends to be leaner and not quite as flavorful as ground beef.
Grilled Turkey Burgers with Cheddar and Smoky Aioli
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 pound ground dark meat turkey (which I couldn’t find at my market)
4 thick slices red onion
1 large red bell pepper, quartered
4 slices white cheddar cheese
4 sesame-seed hamburger buns
Toast cumin and coriander seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat until aromatic and slightly darker in color, shaking skillet often, about 1-1/2 minutes. Cool. Finely grind toasted seeds in spice grinder or with mortar and pestle. Whisk mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, smoked paprika, garlic and ground spices in a small bowl. Season aioli to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made and refrigerated one day ahead).
Place turkey in a medium bowl and add 2 tablespoons aioli and gently mix. Divide turkey into four equal portions and form into patties. Season with salt and pepper. Brush onion slices and red pepper pieces with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat grill to medium-high. Grill onions and peppers until soft and charred, about 4 minutes.
Grill turkey burgers 5 minutes, then turn and grill until almost cooked through, about another 4 minutes. Top with a slice of cheese and cook until cheese melts, about another minute. Place burger on bun and top with grilled onion, pepper, a dollop of aioli and some arugula. Enjoy!