These were some of your guesses when I asked about the two main ingredients of this veggie burger.
All good guesses, and to be sure, over the years I have made veggie burgers with most of these ingredients. But when I spotted this veggie burger on the blog Everybody Likes Sandwiches , the recipe sounded outlandish enough that I just had to bookmark it and try it.
So, dear readers, the two main ingredients of this burger are oats and walnuts!
Mamatha guessed oats correctly (congratulations :D) as did an anonymous reader. No one guessed that this burger is also chock-full of walnuts.
I followed the burger recipe quite closely. It could not be simpler. Walnuts are ground up, then combined with oats, flavored with onions, garlic and herbs, seasoned and the mixture is held together with eggs and some milk. The burger mixture is refrigerated for an hour or so, then formed into 8 hearty patties. At this step, one expects to brown the patties in a skillet, but after browning, this burger is actually cooked in some stock. This was another unusual step.
My modifications (based on what I had on hand): using 2 eggs instead of 3, using dried oregano and thyme in place of the sage, using sooji/rava (semolina) in place of the breadcrumbs and using mushroom stock instead of vegetable stock.
As they were browning, the kitchen filled up with a very savory and unmistakably meaty smell. Not meaty enough to put me off, but meaty enough that it might fool a meat-eater into thinking that this is a "real" burger! There is some chemistry going on here which turns the combination of a nut and a grain into something quite unexpected. These burgers are tasty and very hearty. With all the grains in the burger, we decided to forgo the buns- they would have made the meal too carb-heavy even for me.
To go with the burger, I wanted something crunchy and savory. I had been leafing through Ellie Krieger's book The Food You Crave and a recipe for baked onion rings caught my eye. So, in response to Kamana, who asked, "I can never get my onion rings to crisp and stay that way. how do you fry yours?", the answer is simple- I don't fry them :)
The recipe called for an unusual ingredient to coat the onion rings with some sought-after crunch and crust. I got several guesses for this ingredient- cornflakes, panko, rice, coconut, semolina, vermicelli- but Manisha was spot-on when she guessed that the onion rings were baked and that the crust was made with crushed kettle chips. Yes, indeed these onion rings are coated with crushed potato chips. Manisha, how did you know?
The recipe for the onion rings is here. I added other spices (aleppo pepper, oregano, basil) to the buttermilk mixture and also the crushed potato chips for some extra flavor, and otherwise followed the recipe closely.
For once in my life, I opened a bag of potato chips and did not scarf them down in a few nanoseconds. Instead, I placed them in the food processor and helplessly watched them being pulverized. It was a bit of a challenge to crush the potato chips into a fine powder, and to get them to cling to the onion rings, but we did our best and the results were fantastic. The onion rings are incredibly crunchy and addictive!
Finally, my sincere thanks to all those generous souls who left me fantastic suggestions for the Boston trip. I'm only going there next month but will return with a report of everything that I managed to fit into the oh-so-short trip.
Meanwhile, I have some cabbage and avocados in the fridge and there are some black beans soaking on the counter. Let's see what I can make with these ingredients! Have a great week, everyone.