Burger buns are one of the things that I have yet to find a decent gluten-free replacement for. And while I’ve had no qualms about asking several airport Quiznos employees to send a sandwich through the toaster on my bread, it’s slightly less appropriate to request that a $26 Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern be served to you on your own amaranth-millet-oat bun. But that’s ok, because unfortunately most of the bun options out there are so dry, they make the dead cow you put on them would roll in its grave.
My only solution at restaurants is to ask for two extra large lettuce leaves on the side In & Out protein style. This is not such a bad way to eat a burger, taste wise. But it does make for a bit of a mess if the burger at hand is very very good. My friend Adam, who was a self-proclaimed burger connoisseur before he moved to San Francisco and converted to burritos, used to say that the sign of a good burger is whether or not the juices manage to dribble all the way down your arm to your elbow. If you’re enjoying one of these burgers without the added padding of a bun to soak up some of the juices, you might just ruin your pants in addition to your shirt. But it will probably be worth it.
Due to the bun issue, I haven’t dedicated nearly enough real estate to burgers on this site. But I’d like to remedy that.
One of my favorite dishes to make a few years ago, when I first got into the blogging game, was ginger salmon burgers. I wasn’t gluten-free yet, but I still served them bun-less and without any breadcrumbs mixed in. I’m a big believer in a really wet patty mixture (you won’t get to elbow territory otherwise). And when I’m not dealing with regular ground beef (which calls for being a purist), I love adding loads of delicious herbs and veg.
These Thai chicken burgers are similar to the original ginger salmon version. But this time I’ve added even more flavor by way of my favorite Thai condiment, fish sauce. Even though the meat is chicken, the end result, with all the bright funky flavors, tastes similar to the Thai fish cakes you get on the streets of Bangkok. Because of this, these burgers were made to be eaten inside a lettuce wrap.
As my friends who witnessed me take down half a pig’s face inside a piece of lettuce last weekend can attest, it’s hard not look like a total mess when eating this type of thing. But if there’s ever a time to eat like a pig, it’s Super Bowl weekend. And at least without the bun, you can feel like less of a pig while doing so.
Thai Chicken Burgers with Sriracha Mayo
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 small shallot minced
- 1- inch fresh ginger peeled and minced
- 1 serrano pepper ribs and seeds removed, minced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon honey mustard (or 2 teaspoons Dijon + 1 teaspoon honey)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 pound ground chicken (preferably dark meat)
- Vegetable oil
- Bibb lettuce leaves for serving
- Sriracha mayo
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the garlic, shallots, ginger, serrano, cilantro, fish sauce, lime juice, mustard and salt. Add the chicken and mix with your hands until the vegetable mixture is incorporated, but the chicken is still coarsely combined. Form into 6 even patties, 2-inches thick, and set aside on a plate.
Heat a thin layer of oil in a large nonstick skillet. Cook the burgers over medium-high heat until nicely browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Remove to a plate to rest for 5 minutes.
Serve the chicken burgers in lettuce leaves or on toasted buns and top with a dollop of sriracha mayo. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve the remaining mayo on the side.
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Gluten-Free Maryland Crab Cake Sliders
The Heritage Cook: Italian Sliders with Fried Polenta and Marinara Sauce
Feed Me Phoebe: Thai Chicken Sliders with Sriracha Mayo