I’m sorry it’s been so quiet around these parts! I’ve been busy doing summer.
For me, that usually means jumping in icy lakes, floating on inflatable thingies in the ocean, calling 8 s’mores “dinner”, sipping on fruity-bitter cocktails and frosty bottles of beer, and waking up with hair that smells like campfire.
This year, it’s been a lot of long walks on Vancouver’s seawall with a Babybjorn strapped to my chest, picnics stuffed into the massive diaper bag that has become my new appendage, market trips that result in a stroller so full of berries and tomatoes that baby gets ousted… that kind of thing.
It has been lovely, but I’m ready for September and the new start it brings. To me, September 1st feels more like the “new year” than January 1st. We’re all freckled and tanned with wind-tousled hair and a belly full of fruit pies – with vacations winding down, it feels good to pull a light sweater on over your shorts and to start new routines, don’t you think?
These burgers are a segue into fall cooking – while burgers in general are decidedly summer food, they boast rich, earthy flavours that err on the side of autumn.
I use cremini mushrooms (also known as baby bellas or brown mushrooms). You could use portobellos instead, but they’re a bit pricier, and all minced up you can’t tell a big difference. They’re sauteed with garlic and shallot, then enriched with toasted walnuts and blue cheese.
Egg and fresh breadcrumbs bind everything together, but they are still pretty soft – they may fall apart a bit while you’re eating, but the mess is part of the fun.
- 1 cup walnuts
- 2 tbsp + 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1½ tbsp minced shallot (about half one medium)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb cremini (or other) mushrooms
- 2 oz blue cheese, crumbled (plus more for topping)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1½ cups fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt & pepper
- 1 egg
- 4 hamburger buns
- mayonnaise, for topping
- arugula, for topping
- Heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Add walnuts and cook until fragrant and toasty, shaking pan frequently, for about 5 minutes total. Set aside to cool.
- In a food processor, pulse mushrooms until finely chopped.
- Heat first 2 tbsp olive oil in the same pan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms evaporate most of their moisture and start to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Return mushrooms to food processor along with toasted walnuts, blue cheese, parsley, breadcrumbs and lemon juice. Pulse to combine. Season well with salt and pepper to taste. Add egg and pulse again until mixture comes together.
- Using your hands, divide mixture into 4 equal portions; flatten into patties. Place on a plate and refrigerate for 20 minutes (this helps them stay together).
- Wipe out the pan and return to medium heat. Add 2 tbsp olive oil. When oil is shimmering hot, add burgers. Cook, flipping once, until brown on both sides and heated through, about 8 minutes total.
- Serve burgers on buns topped with mayonnaise, arugula and additional crumbled blue cheese.