We may not be getting much of a summer here in Sydney, but at least we still have Daylight Savings. With only a month left of Summer and the weather looking to be finally improving, I am making the most of it. I love getting home from work when it is still daylight, giving me time to go for a walk, tend to my potted-garden and, best of all, enjoy BBQ dinners on the deck while it is still light and the air is cool and breezy.
When the approached me to come up with a recipe for their Summer Mushrooms campaign, I saw this as a massive challenge to create something that could be made ahead of time, could be thrown on the BBQ when I got in from work or made for a weekend BBQ with friends. Mushrooms are one of my favourite ingredients, I just love their funky earthiness and the fact that you can make so many dishes with them as you can see here. Who knew there were so many things to do with Mushrooms in Summer?
I decided to make these mushroom sliders as a vegetarian alternative to beef burger patties. I myself am more than happy to change it up and forego the flesh (on occasion) in favour of something herbivorous and I think that we could all do with a day or two in our week doing this, the problem is that some people feel that their meal isn't complete without meat. So I wanted to prove that even the most carnivorous of carnivores could bite into something a little bit different, and say something along the lines of "Huh, you wouldn't know there wasn't any meat in here"*
The first thing I had to do was to choose my mushroom. No delicate oyster mushrooms or whispy enokies here, what was needed was the biggest, meatiest mushroom I could find, the portobello. Half of the portobellos were minced into a tasty umami flavoured paste (to help with the binding) which also included anchovies (bet you were wondering when I was going to use these) as well as sage, thyme, garlic and tomato paste.
To add some crunch to the mix, I added some toasted walnuts and bread crumbs. The rest of the mushrooms were diced and tossed through the mix raw along with an egg.
I then shaped the mixture into small patties and stored them in the fridge for a couple of hours - to let the flavours mingle, get to know one another and to firm up ready for cooking.
Once they are done, go nuts with whatever topping you please; I topped this batch with caramelised onion, mustard, peppery watercress and a quail egg. Whatever you decide to top them with, these patties will definitely hold their own along side the steak, sausages and beef burgers at your next BBQ and most certainly won't leave you feeling like you are missing out on anything the carnivores are having.
* this was proclaimed to me by The Bearded
Makes approx 8 small slider patties or 4 large burgers
8 Dinner rolls
150g large portobello mushrooms, finely diced
150g large portobello mushrooms (roughly chopped for the paste)
125 grams of walnuts, toasted and then finely chopped
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg lightly beaten
6 sage leaves
3 anchovies - (Edit) - Vegetarians, please omit this
2 garlic cloves
approx 2 tbsp thyme
2 tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
Add the roughly chopped mushrooms, tomato paste, garlic, anchovies, sage and thyme to a food processor and blitz until you have a smooth paste.
To a large bowl, add the finely chopped mushrooms, breadcrumbs, eggs, walnuts and paste. Season to taste then mix to combine.
Roll the mixture into balls and press down to form a thick patty. Once you have done this with all the mix, put them on a plate and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Over a medium-high heat on a well oiled BBQ plate or pan, cook the patties for about 3 minutes on each side.
Assemble your buns and fillings.
Make sure you sit next to someone eating a giant steak and watch their eyes glaze over when they smell and see what you are munching on!