It’s the one thing that, guiltily, tastes better from a supermarket freezer.
The lovely, meaty firmness of a Linda McCartney peri peri quarter pounder wipes the floor with any vegetable burger I’ve ever made.
Whatever technique or filling I try, the result is a soft, moist splodge that squelches to pieces the moment you look at it. Like a shallow-fried cowpat. I imagine.
It doesn’t matter whether I mix in an egg or blitz up a batch of breadcrumbs, the outcome never changes.
I have a friend who’s obsessed with the perfect beef burger meal. He eulogises at length about the consistency of the bun. The size and selection of the pickles. The triple cooking of the chips.
Oh to have such simple worries.
Last night’s failed home-crafted effort was aubergine and sweet potato za’atar burgers. Three amazing ingredients, one crushingly familiar result.
So this is the start of a food crusade. To find a simple recipe for a tasty veggie burger that withstands handheld munching in any bun. I don’t need a crusty Viennese, a tangy sourdough or a glazed sweet brioche. Standing up to a simple floured batch will do.
There are some rules, of course, I’m not a monster.
- All ingredients must be fairly easily available and relatively straightforward to prepare. I am unable to cook sous vide at this present time, Heston.
- Grains, beans etc are permitted but the burger must contain some class of vegetable beyond onion.
- No bread or flour coating, or similar, to protect the squishy interior. This is cheating.
- Deep frying is banned. Even I have morals. All burgers must be cookable in a lightly greased frying pan or pre-brushed for grilling.
- A Portobello mushroom with a slice of halloumi on top is NOT a burger. This deconstructed definition is an insidious interloper and must not be tolerated. Stop it.
Have I missed anything?
So now all I need are suggestions. Links to recipes are welcome in the Comments as are, er, comments. Feel free to email me any of your own secret blends that I swear on Baden-Powell’s honour not to divulge. Let’s find the ultimate veggie burger.