I started out to say that I must be honest with you: not every evening features a culinary masterpiece. But as I thought about it, maybe it’s that the word “masterpiece” needs to be rethought.
I don’t cook in a terribly complicated, ingredient-intensive way to begin with. But on nights such as last night, I tend to step it down even more. And still, the results are pretty good if I do say so.
It had been a long, intense weekend followed by a long Monday. It being Meatless Monday, I had a post all formulated in my mind about a new twist on the garbanzo bean “meatballs” that I intended to shape as patties so I could indulge once again in the pleasure of homemade ketchup. But by the time I got home from a late afternoon meeting, I just didn’t have it in me.
Pasta is probably my favorite go-to on nights when I need a good, simple dinner, especially one that needs to be drenched in comfort. I had relieved my kind neighbor of some more of her onion scapes over the weekend, and I always have Parmesan and Italian parsley on hand. Salad fixings? Check.
While the pasta was cooking, I washed some lettuce, tore it up, and added some tomatoes, an avocado, shaved a carrot over it all, and tossed it with a lemony vinaigrette. When the pasta was done, I tossed it with some olive oil, chopped onion scapes, parsley, sea salt and some grinds of pepper. Parmesan – a generous amount – went over the top, and I sat down with my masterpiece. And the latest issue of La Cucina Italiana. Ohhhhh, life is so good.
So tonight’s the night for a “burger.”
1 small yellow onion, diced (or 1/2 large)
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 mushrooms – crimini or button – stems removed, 1/4″ slices
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup Panko (or your own ground bread crumbs, or leftover quinoa, rice, or risotto)
15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
Zest of 1 lemon (Meyer, if possible)
1 large egg
- Film the bottom of a medium skillet with olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a good pinch of salt. Sauté until softened. Add the garlic, mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes. Sauté until mushrooms have given up most of their water, about 8-10 minutes. Add Panko (or bread crumbs). Sauté, stirring often, until Panko takes on a toasted color, about 3-4 minutes.
- Transfer contents of skillet to bowl of a food processor. Add the garbanzo beans and lemon zest, and pulse until well blended, but not puréed. Add the egg and pulse until nearly a paste-like consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Shape into 3 patties. If you don’t need to cook all of them at once, wrap each individually in plastic, then place inside a ziplock bag and freeze.
- Set oven to Broil.
- You can cook the “burgers” in the very same pan in which you sautéed the vegetables. Add some more olive oil, and warm the pan over medium heat. When hot, add your “burger(s)”. Cook each side until golden brown and nicely crisped. While the patties are cooking, slide the buns under the broiler to toast.
- Serve “burgers” with lots of homemade ketchup and whatever garnishes you love.
So what masterpieces have you created lately?