RECIPES: HOMEMADE BURGER BUNS | GROUND TURKEY MINI BURGERS | PEANUT SATAY SAUCE | INDONESIAN “GADO GADO” SALAD
For a brief spell after graduating from college, I lived in a loft in San Francisco with a few friends. It was a chaotic time when everyone was taking different paths but subconsciously wished that student life would never come to an end. Some were working from 9 to late hours, others were making films and photography. Still, others like myself were reflecting on what to do next.
The best memories from life in SOMA (“South of Market Street” area) were the nights when we invited friends and projected films ranging from There Will be Blood to Pootie Tang. We would serve decadent hot dogs wrapped in bacon, “piggy backs” as I like to call them, in the style of the street food you can find on corners of the Mission District; we would eat on the roof while looking at the San Francisco skyline.
The next morning we would walk a couple of blocks over to Susie’s diner for breakfast. Run by two cheerful Chinese ladies, with classic Coke style letter boards and exposed metal on the walls, it was a simple and old-school, shabby but clean diner where we could sit together over coffee and be at ease to talk about last night’s movie and our projects for the next few years, memories from college and current events, jokes and philosophy. It was far from gourmet, but dining is just as much about your surroundings and state of mind as it is about the food. Bacon, eggs, sausage, and orange juice never tasted as good as in those mornings.
Feeling nostalgic, I decided to look up “Susie’s café” online and found out, alas, that it has been permanently closed. In my commiseration for the passing of this cherished place, I read pages and pages of its reviews on Yelp. I was surprised (and entertained) by the polarized debate surrounding the merits and faults of this humble neighborhood joint. One reviewer, Tyler C., compared the owners to his “aunts, but even nicer”, while Bridget P. warned, “The service is hella mean… They will yell at you like it’s no one’s business”. Some expressed that they were “scared to try this place because it is on the same lot as ‘Ed’s auto service’ ”, while others defended the shabby look and the dishes cooked “just the way your mom would make them if you were stumbling home and begged her to make you something to eat and she was nice enough to whip it together.” Whatever the final verdict on its service and gastronomic qualities may be, having a meal there always made me feel great.
A few weeks ago we discovered an American diner in Le Puy-en-Velay, one of the major towns “close to” our hamlet. Entering this room with pictures of Route 66 and the sounds of classic Elvis tracks made me chuckle a little, but the burgers were to die for! We rarely associate France with burgers, and with good reason, but I’ve had some of my best here. The wave of trendy burger joints that invaded Paris these past few years has apparently reached Auvergne. These Franco-American establishments offer an unbeatable combination: regional French ingredients like cantal cheese and foie gras meet the American invention of casual dining.
With our minds on these havens of casual dining, Adélaïde and I decided today to make burgers using whichever ingredients we had in stock. Since we had time on our hands, we decided to go all the way, bake our own buns and also try out a new salad that would go well with the peanut sauce. The result is in the recipe below!
Satay sauce + ground turkey mini burgers | Serves 2
The burger buns (for 10 buns):
When making bread, it’s difficult to make small quantities. This recipe therefore gives you more than you need for this dish but you can easily freeze the extra buns!
- 680g flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp organic yeast
- 50g butter, diced
- 140ml water
- 180ml milk + some extra for glaze
- 4 egg yolks
- sesame seeds
- In a mixing bowl, sift the flour and add the salt & sugar on one side and the yeast on the other side. It is important that the salt and yeast not come in contact as the salt alters the yeast’s rising properties.
- In a pot on low heat, heat up the water & diced butter until it melts. Remove from heat and add the cold milk. Check the temperature using a thermometer and make sure it is between 49°C and 55°C.
- At the right temperature, pour the liquid preparation over the dry ingredients and knead at once on medium speed using the hook if you have a stand-mixer or by hand. Add the egg yolks one by one, kneading each time after a yolk is added. Continue kneading until the dough becomes nice and elastic (about 20 minutes by hand, or 10 minutes with a stand-mixer).
- Shape into a ball and place in a large, lightly greased container (with olive oil for example). Cover with cling-film (the film should be in direct contact with the dough to prevent a crust from forming). Let it rest at room temperature for about an hour and a half, or until it doubles in size.
- Take out the dough and place it on a slightly floured surface. Roughly roll it out with a rolling pin to remove the gas created by the fermentation.
- Divide the dough into 10 or 20 pieces of equal size, depending on how big you want your burgers. 10 for regular-size burgers, 20 for mini burgers. Roll each piece into a smooth ball using the palm of your hand. If you have baking pans (app. 12cm wide for large buns, app. 6cm wide for small ones), place each ball into greased & floured pans. If not, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Space them out well as they will spread while baking. Lightly dust the balls with flour.
- Let the dough rise once again for about an hour or until the balls double in volume.
- Delicately brush the buns with a little milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in a preheated oven at 220°C for 11-12 minutes or until nice & golden.
The peanut satay sauce (for 200ml):
Use 100ml for the burgers and the rest for the gado gado salad.
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 garlic clove, diced
- 100ml coconut milk
- 1 tsp red curry paste
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 70ml water
- 50g smooth peanut butter
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- Heat up oil in a small & deep pot and sweat the shallot & garlic for 3-4 minutes until soft.
- Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add the curry paste & sugar.
- Using a whisk, incorporate the water and peanut butter until homogenous. Lower the heat and add the soy sauce. Mix well and keep half of it warm to use for the burgers while reserving the other half for the salad.
The ground turkey patties:
- 400g turkey filets (pre-ground if you do not have a grinder at home)
- 1 red onion, chopped (save some for serving)
- a few wild arugula leaves, chopped
- 2 tbsp peanuts, crushed + some extra for serving
- 1/2 tsp Worcester sauce
- the juice of a lemon
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- a few baby spinach leaves for serving
- fleur de sel & black pepper
- Grind the turkey filets and add the thinly chopped onion, arugula, crushed peanuts, Worcester sauce & lemon juice. Season to taste. Mix well using a wooden spoon.
- Depending on the desired burger size, divide into 4 or 2 balls and form into patties.
- Heat up a barbecue grill or a pan on very high heat. Add the vegetable oil and place the patties on the pan, turning regularly every minute or so. Turn heat down to medium-high to avoid burning until cooked throughout.
To serve the burgers, slice each bun in half and do the following combination: a spoonful of satay sauce + chopped red onion + the turkey patties + another spoonful of satay sauce + crushed peanuts + a few spinach leaves.
The Indonesian “gado gado” salad:
- 1 tbsp mango chutney
- 100ml satay sauce
- 100g potatoes, boiled and sliced
- 1 small carrot, thinly sliced
- 30g string beans, cooked and cut in small pieces
- 1/2 cucumber, sliced
- 1 small tomato, cut into quarters
- 2 hard boiled quail eggs or 1 regular free-range farm egg
- 2 tbsp peanuts, toasted & crushed
- fleur de sel & black pepper
- coarse salt for boiling
- Wash & boil the unpeeled potatoes in salted water for app. 20 min or until cooked. Wash & boil the string beans in salted water for app. 10 min or until cooked. Drain and slice both vegetables.
- Boil the eggs in salted water for app. 4 min. if quail eggs or app. 10 min if regular egg. Drain, peel once cool and cut in halves.
- Slice the raw carrot, cucumber, and cut the tomato into quarters.
- In a large bowl, combine the mango chutney and the satay sauce. Add the potatoes, string beans, carrot, cucumber and tomato. Season to taste and top with the eggs & crushed peanuts.