My neighbors came home after several weeks away to a kitchen garden gone bonkers. I had done my best to tame the beast, eating as much spinach, lettuce, chard and green onions each day as I possibly could.
But, by the time they got back, it was as if no one had ever touched that garden at all. It was like the thing was on steroids.
This dish is for those of you who have a garden bursting with spinach right now (you know who you are) and are wondering about what to do with the overwhelming abundance that is yours.
The neighbors did end up asking for suggestions about what to make with all the spinach they had. When in doubt about what to do with a ton of veggies, I say make it into meatballs. Or, in this case, cute little mini-burgers.
I suddenly thought of a recipe I recently made from the cookbook, Jerusalem (if you don't already own it, it's a must-have, beautiful and inspiring.). That recipe pairs turkey and zucchini into a burger.
These, like the ones from Jerusalem, are of the turkey variety, but really, you could use whatever you have on hand. Beef. Pork. A blend of meats even, for those of you who dare.
The spinach adds succulence to the petite patties. Along with the egg, shredded carrots act as a binder and keep our little friends held together and presentable.
Cumin is savory, earthy and adds a little mystery (in a totally good way). It always goes so well with carrots. A smattering of green onion and garlic add to the already delicious flavors.
You can easily double the recipe and freeze any extras. When you suddenly have a zillion things going on and pretty much no time to cook dinner, you’ll be happy when you remember these are around. You might even burst into song.
While you are singing (or not), toss these onto a baking sheet to reheat while you are throwing a salad together.
Stir together a little sauce, which if you tend to multi-purpose things as I do, can also serve as a dressing for your sturdy greens. Just thin it a bit with water if you are going to use it for the salad.
While your family scarfs these down, perhaps wondering how you ever had time to make these bites of deliciousness with all the other things you had to do today (such as tame a crazy kitchen garden), you can sit back and gloat.
Or eat, before it’s all gone.
Hurry along now, then.
Turkey Mini-Burgers with Spinach, Carrots and Cumin
Serves 4 to 6
5 teaspoons light tahini paste
¼ cup water
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ clove garlic
2 Tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
1 lb. ground turkey
4 cups spinach leaves, packed
1 medium carrot, grated
4 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
1 large egg
3 Tablespoons cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne
3 Tablespoons sunflower oil
3 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter (or ghee) for searing
For the sauce: Mix together listed ingredients, stirring well. Set aside.
For the mini-burgers: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the mini-burgers except for sunflower oil and butter. Use your hands to shape into small burgers, about 1 ½ inches in diameter. You should be able to make about 18.
Pour your oil into a large frying pan. Add butter. The entire bottom should be covered. Heat over medium-high heat until hot, then sear the mini-burgers in batches on all sides. Cook each batch for about 4 minutes. You want them to be seared, but not cooked through. You may need to add additional oil after the first batch.
Transfer the mini-burgers to a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper and put in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes. They should be just cooked through. These can be served warm or at room temperature. Sauce can be served on the side or spooned over them.
Lightly adapted from Ottolenghi and Tamimi's wonderful Jerusalem.