Traditions revisited: lentil burgers

So I am back. Or at least I will try to be back. Last semester at work was crazy with teaching and research and I decided to take a break from the blog. I want this blog to be a relaxing oasis, not a source of stress, so I have been posting a bit on Intsagram and Facebook and Twitter, but I did not really do much for the blog. Now it is the new year, teaching is behind me for the time being and I will try to get back to some version of a regular schedule.

Since it is the start of the year, I will start by posting a recipe for recycling lentils. As you might know, lentils are always eaten on the first day of the year in Italy because they are believed to “bring money”. Here you can find more about it. So what do you do when you have leftovers? Delicious veggie burgers is the answer!

You can start from the leftover lentils and simply add breadcrumbs to get a stiff and dry mixture. Form into patties and pan fry them. And you are done.

I decided to serve them with leftover cotechino (a traditional Italian sausage/cooked salami that is always present on the table at New Years) that I sliced and crisped in a hot pan with no added fats, and steamed spinach, because you always need something green on the table.

Otherwise, you can go the burger route and serve them in a bun with a slice of tomato, lettuce and your other favorite burger toppings. Either way it’s going to be an hit with vegetarians and meat lovers alike!

Traditions revisited: lentil burgers

Ingredients

  • 2 cups leftover lentils
  • 1-2 cup breadcrumbs
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions

  1. With a fork smash the lentils and mix them with the breadcrumbs. You should get a dry and rather stiff mixture. This will require more or less breadcrumbs depending on how wet your lentils are, so adjust the amount of breadcrumbs accordingly.
  2. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.
  3. Form in small patties dusting with more breadcrumbs if needed.
  4. Pan fry in hot oil until they are warm, about 3-4 minutes per side.

Sangria strudel

A couple of days ago, I was browsing my Instagram feed and I saw a picture of a Sangria cake and thought it was brilliant. Of course I lost track of who posted it and despite a session of pretty intense scrolling I could not find it again. So apologies for not appropriately crediting. If you were the brilliant poster, let me know and I will fix this.

Anyway, I had to make up my own. I looked in the fridge and saw a forlon roll of phyllo dough and thought: strudel! And the rest is history.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 cups of fruit soaked in wine for 12-24 hours
  • 6-8 sheets of phyllo dough
  • 2 tbsp melted butter

Directions

  1. Brush the phyllo dough with the melted butter. You can do it sheet by sheet, or you can do the quick way and brush just brush here and there as you see fit..
  2. Place the fruit at the center of the roll and close the roll over the fruit.
  3. Bake in the oven at 375F/180C for 30 minutes or until it is golden brown.
  4. Serve cold or warm with some vanilla ice cream.

Cod and potato burgers

I am a bit late today, because I was in Chicago during the weekend meeting up with family and showing baby A. off: she walks now and had a ball at millennium park splashing around the Crown fountain and at the beach people watching and splashing about on the shore.

The recipe I’m sharing today is inspired by a dish my mother used to make often when we were young: cod layered with potatoes. I lowed it very much as a kid for its simple flavors. As I grew older and started making it myself, I started adding a spoonful of capers to add another layer of flavors, and a couple of months ago I had the idea of transforming it into burgers. It is now a bit of a classic.

They use only a handful of ingredients and are very quick to put together, particularly if you have leftover boiled or baked potatoes. Yet the use of capers and pickled lemon as seasoning, give the dish a whole new depth of flavors by introducing notes of acid, pop of saltiness and just a touch of sour to give a counterpoint to the fishiness of cod and the of simple earthiness of the potatoes. Give it a try and you won’t be disappointed.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boiled potatoes (baked would work too)
  • 1 lb raw cod
  • 1/2 tbsp capers
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1/2 pickled lemon
  • salt
  • pepper
  • panko breadcrumbs
  • olive oil

Directions

  1. Chop the raw fish roughly with the capers, onion and pickled lemon using the pulse function of a food processor.
  2. Mash the potatoes and mix in the chopped fish mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste and form into patties. If the mixture is too wet, you can add a couple of spoons of breadcrumbs. If it is too dry, you can add a bit of mayo.
  3. Coat the patties using the panko breadcrumbs and place on an oven sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and bake in a 375F oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown, turning over once to get even browning and cooking.
  4. You can serve with a light mixed green salad and a bit of tartar sauce or lemony mayo on the side.
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