There are hardly enough words to express the joy of a few weeks off between a busy school year and the next work endeavor. While the past year has been rewarding in its own way, making it clear to me that I made the right decision when I was deciding which school to attend, there is still a lot to be said for the rewards of a day spent simply. It’s the difference between sitting on the couch with a textbook versus a best seller, with a much-needed late evening coffee to power through a study session versus a beer just because, with cheap Chinese food from the hole-in-the-wall by the subway stop versus a seasonally-inspired home-cooked meal.
While I spent the first bit of my brief break relaxing on the beaches and mini golf courses of Delaware, I have returned with a small but sufficient farmer’s market load (do you see those flowers?), dusted off my cookbooks, and restocked the pantry for a few days of quality cooking before my upcoming internship becomes all-consuming. And after a delicious but not nutritious very long weekend of meals out, daily ice cream, and more than daily beer, I am going to be going the healthy route for these next few posts.
But change works best when it is implemented gradually. So, today, I bring you turkey and zucchini mini burgers. They’re as satisfying as a traditional burger (though they taste nothing like it), pack a nice melange of green vegetables and herbs, and go great with a yogurt-based sauce and some salad. They’re even great at room temperature, making them a solid cook-ahead meal to enjoy with your lunch, at, say, a new summer internship.
Turkey and Zucchini Mini Burgers
Adapted from Jerusalem: A Cookbook
Makes about 18 mini burgers
1 1/4 pound ground turkey (preferably from the thigh)
1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated
3 green onions, finely sliced
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 1/2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup sunflower or vegetable oil, approximately
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Place all the ingredients except for the oil in a large bowl and use your hands to mix together. Use your hands to form about 15-20 small burger patties.
Heat the oil (it should be enough to coat the pan with about 1/8 of an inch of oil) over medium-high heat on a frying pan. Cook the burgers until they are seared on each side, but do not worry about cooking them through. This should take about 5 minutes per side.
Place the burgers on the baking sheet and cook in the oven for about 8 minutes, until they are cooked through.
Serve with pita, a Mediterranean salad, and a sumac sauce (made by throwing together your favorite proportions of greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and sumac).