Fresh Spring Vegetable Burger
MAKES: 4 to 6 servings
TIME: 45 minutes
When springs first vegetables and herbs appear, here’s a way to bind them lightly with mashed potatoes and eat them on a bun. The mixture also makes great bite-sized party food. These burgers are fine with ketchup, of course, but even better with some crumbled blue cheese or Blue Cheese Dressing, Creamy Bistro Dressing or Sauce, or Real Ranch Dressing. Of course you’ll want to omit the dairy toppings and use the oil instead of butter if you’re looking for a vegan burger.
1 pound small waxy potatoes, like new or fingerling, quartered
3 to 4 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces asparagus, green beans, or snow peas, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup peas (frozen are fine, just thaw them in cold water)
1/2 cup mixed fresh herbs, like parsley, mint, chives, and chervil
Freshly ground black pepper
A little all-purpose flour, if needed, for binding
Put the potatoes in a large pot with water to cover; salt it. Bring to a boil and lower the heat so that the water bubbles vigorously. Cook until the potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, put a tablespoon of the butter or oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. When the butter is melted or the oil is hot, add the asparagus and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender, just a couple of minutes. Add the peas and the herbs, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook until just hot, another couple minutes. Remove from the heat and put the mixture into a large mixing bowl.
Add the potatoes and mash roughly, leaving some larger pieces but making sure it’s combined well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes if you can before shaping it into patties; if it seems too wet, stir in a little flour to help bind it. (You can make the burger mixture up to several hours in advance. Just cover tightly and refrigerate, then bring everything back to room temperature before cooking.) Wipe out the skillet.
Shape the mixture into 4 to 6 patties. Put 2 tablespoons of the remaining butter or oil in the skillet and turn the heat to medium. When the butter is melted or the oil is hot, carefully slip the burgers into the pan. Cook until nicely browned on one side, about 5 minutes; turn carefully and cook on the other side until firm and browned, adding the remaining butter or oil if necessary.
Serve on plates with any of the accompaniments listed in Serving Burgers or on buns with the usual burger fixings. Or cool and refrigerate or freeze for later use.