Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bean burgers

I have been trying to find a good bean burger recipe for a while now, but to date they have either been unutterably disgusting or have fallen apart whilst cooking. Sometimes both. Had begun to think they were some kind of mythical (non) beast from the sixties, apparently misremembered like much of that decade through substance abuse or non attendance.

Then, the week spring finally (sort of) came to London the new production of Hair has opened to much fanfare and rave reviews. Even Quentin Letts of the rabid Daily Beast can't entirely resist. Though at the start "Mr Swenson jumped up on my seat, tousled my own (receding) hairline and pushed his crotch towards my face." (The crotch in question, mark you, was loose and unclothed.) "It smelled faintly of matron's liniment and coconut butter," Letts says. "That didn't seem right." By the end even Charles Spencer from the Torygraph can only harumph ' "more than 40 years since its premiere, this greatest of all rock musicals can still inspire violent antipathy among the strait-laced. That strikes me as being one of its strengths." I'm seriously thinking of buying tickets!

This is also the week, serendipity or not, when I cracked the bean burger. Using cannelini beans as the base - tinned time but I think dried would be even better next time - their creaminess wrapped around the rest of the ingredients - rich toasted cashews, earthy slivers of celery - and all of it encased in crispy fried breadcrumbs. A most fabulous collection of textures and flavours.

Bean Burgers

50g cashew nuts, slightly crushed then toasted
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
100g gruyere cheese, grated
2 spring onions, chopped
1 stick celery, thinly sliced
1tbsp tomato paste
2 tbspns flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
75g fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
oil for frying

Heat a small pan over a medium heat and lightly toast the nuts for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan and set to one side.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and gently fry the garlic till also just golden.

Place the beans in a large bowl and mash with a fork to a rough consistency. Add the cheese, nuts, spring onions, celery, garlic, parsley, tomato paste and about a third of the breadcrumbs. Season and gently mix together until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Shape the mixture into 8 burgers. Coat the outside of each one first with the beaten egg, then with the remaining breadcrumbs. Cover and put into the fridge to firm up for about 20 minutes.

Heat 1cm oil in a large non-stick frying pan and add the burgers. Fry for 3-4 minutes each side until crips and golden and hot all the way through.

We ate them with a simple cucumber and radish salad and some crusty bread, and somewhere in the ether a tune floated towards us, faint at first let the sun shine, let the sun shine, the sun shine in....

Like wow Man.

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