I suppose this dish is just a continuation of my current turkey craze. Maybe it’s because we see so many along the roads here in Marin where I live. (My son and I even named one who frequents our neighborhood, Herbert, although I’m pretty certain “he” is a “she.”) Or maybe it’s because I’m impressed at how relatively healthy turkey meat is–especially given its economical price.
At any rate, these “burgers” are incredibly flavorful and juicy and pair perfectly with a tzatziki sauce. You could make the “burgers” more burger-sized and serve each one on a lightly-toasted sesame bun–with or without the tzatziki, or make them smaller and serve two or three over a bed of crisp lettuce with a little tzatziki on top like I like to do. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.
Like most of my recipes, this is easy to prepare without being so easy and plain that it’s pedestrian. These burgers also reheat well, so you can make enough for two meals. The actual burger recipe is from the gorgeous book Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. The tzatziki recipe is my own. If you haven’t picked up a copy of this cookbook, you should. Most of the dishes are very straightforward and easy to prepare. I’ve loved everything I’ve cooked so far from the book, and the text and mouthwatering photographs make it an incredible read. As a side note: Ottolenghi was one of the first places I discovered when I moved to London. It was on a narrow crooked street in Kensington that I just happened upon. It wasn’t a sit-down restaurant–just a patisserie-style take-out place that also offered catering. Every single dish I bought from the tiny shop was amazing.
1 lb ground turkey (white or dark meat)
1 large zucchini, coarsely grated (1 1/2 to 2 cups)
3 green onions, the white parts and a little of the green, thinly sliced
1 large organic egg (or egg substitute if you have allergies)
2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly-ground pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
sunflower oil for searing
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 a large cucumber, peeled and grated
1 tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp high-quality olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1-2 tsp sumac
*If you’re making tzatziki for a more special occasion, I recommend 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt and 1/2 cup sour cream. If you’re using it on grilled vegetables or chicken, you can add 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill instead of the sumac.
Start by making the tzatziki. Combine all the ingredients for the tzatziki, except the sumac, in a small bowl and chill until needed.
Preheat the oven to 425F. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the burgers except the sunflower oil. Mix well until everything is evenly incorporated. Using your hands, shape the mixture into approximately 12 burgers–2-3 inches in diameter.
Pour sunflower oil into a large cast-iron skillet until the bottom is covered with a 1/16-inch layer. Heat over medium heat then place the burgers in and brown them on both sides (approximately 2-3 minutes per side). Transfer the burgers to a parchment lined baking sheet or broiler pan and place in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until just cooked through.
Serve warm on a bun or on a bed of lettuce. Spoon a little of the tzatziki over the top and sprinkle the sumac on top of the sauce. Serve the extra sauce on the side.
Serves 4 to 6.