I don’t know about you but sometimes I really just want a burger. Sure, I could eat the patty without the bun (and I often do) but isn’t there something so fun about about picking up a piece of meat sandwiched between two slices of something and just chowing down. Enter: the portabella mushroom cap burger. Ok, so it’s not bread, but in my never ending quest to replace complex carbohydrates, it’s pretty darn good. Of course for the picky eaters at the table (*cough* husbands & children) you can always replace the mushrooms with a real bun and it’ll be probably even more delicious. But it is football season and we are still trying to stick to those New Year’s resolution, so for now the bun will suffice.
Now as for the leeks… I love caramelized onions on my burger but they take forever to cook and they also really upset my stomach (tmi?), so the leeks are the perfect alternative. They cook much quicker and serve basically the same purpose. Make sure you salt them well since they do bring a good amount of salt to the dish.
If you hate cilantro as many of you inexplicibly do, you can easily replace the cilantro with parsley, dill, or your favorite herb, or just omit it altogether. It’s not crucial to the dish but does bring a nice flavor to the burger.
Dice the shallot into a fine dice and place it in a large bowl.
Remove the leaves from the cilantro stems and discard of the stems. Finely mince the cilantro leaves and add to the bowl with the shallot.
Add the turkey, garlic powder, salt, red pepper and egg to the bowl and use your hands to mix well. Use your hands to form the turkey mixture into burger patties. One pound of turkey should make about seven to eight medium size burgers.
Prepare the mushroom caps. Remove the stem of the mushroom and gently peel away the top layer of the mushroom skin. Wash off any dirt and dry well. Season with a little salt.
Season a grill pan with spray canola oil and heat over a high flame until smoking. I recommend a cast iron grill pan as it can handle very high heat. Cook the turkey burgers until cooked throughout, about five to seven minutes each side. Transfer the cooked burgers to a plate and cook the mushrooms on the grill pan, about two minutes each side.
While the burgers cook, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Chop the leek and add it to the pan. Season with salt and cover. Stirring often, let the leeks cook until they begin to brown, about 20 minutes.
Put down one mushroom cap, then the burger, then the leek and finally, the second mushroom cap. Serve with a fork and knife, or in a small paper or paper towel if you prefer to eat with your hands.