Firecracker Burgers with Green Apple and Celery Salad and Thai Basil vinaigrette

By gingerroot
July 5, 2010
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Author Notes: Although I just happened to make these on the Fourth of July, the firecracker refers to using Sriracha sauce to season the burgers, rather than the holiday. Combined with traditional Southeast Asian seasonings, including Thai basil and fish sauce, these juicy, flavorful burgers are a balance of spicy, sweet, sour and salty. The apple-celery salad and dressing provides additional sweetness, crunch and the subtle anise flavor of Thai basil. Make the salad and dressing ahead; keep in refrigerator until ready to dress burger. Note: Fish sauce and Sriracha can be found in the Asian section of some markets or an Asian market. They add a depth of flavor that is difficult to replicate. gingerroot

Serves: 2-4 depending on appetite

For the Green apple and celery salad with Thai basil vinaigrette

  • 1/2 Granny Smith green apple, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 lemon or lime wedge (I used Meyer lemon but lime would also work)
  • 1/4 cup Thai basil leaves (about 20)
  • 1/4 cup Meyer lemon (or lime) juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cilantro stems, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  1. Mix apple and celery matchsticks in a medium bowl. Squeeze citrus over matchsticks, tossing to combine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator.
  2. Using a mortar and pestle, combine Thai basil leaves, cilantro stems, garlic and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Grind into a thick paste. Transfer to clean jam jar with lid.
  3. Add fish sauce, remaining lemon juice and canola oil. Close jar tightly and shake well to emulsify dressing; store in refrigerator until ready to use. (You will have extra salad and dressing for enjoyment on another occasion).

For the Burgers

  • 1 1/4 pounds ground pork
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 chives, finely chopped
  • 6 Thai basil leaves cut into chiffonade
  • 4 sweet mace leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce (Thai chili-garlic sauce)
  • 1 lemon or lime wedge
  1. Heat grill pan to medium-high.
  2. Meanwhile, combine garlic and herbs in a large bowl. Squeeze lemon or lime wedge over herb mixture. Add fish sauce and Sriracha sauce.
  3. Add ground pork to bowl and using hands, mix pork and seasonings gently but thoroughly to combine. Make four patties of equal size (5 oz each).
  4. Cook patties on grill pan until done, 3-4 minutes per side.
  5. Transfer to plate, top with green apple and celery salad, drizzle Thai basil vinaigrette over salad and burger.

More Great Recipes:
Pork|Appetizer|Entree|Summer|Fourth of July|Memorial Day|Grill/Barbecue