Turkey Burgers with Cheddar and Smoky Aioli

Sorry for the poor picture; I left my good camera at work.

You know how turkey burgers can sometimes be sad, dry little hockey pucks of compromise?  Often eaten under the mistaken assumption that turkey is always better for you than ground beef?  Well let me introduce you to possibly the best turkey burger you’ve ever had.  You and my husband.  He ate three of them.

Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate turkey burgers in their own right.  Yes, they don’t have the beefiness of, well, beef, but that’s their advantage.  They provide the perfect subtle backdrop for other flavors and that’s what’s going on in this recipe.  Think of them as the runway models of the burger world. 

Although the recipe has you toast whole spices in a dry pan and then grind them, I took a shortcut and just used ground cumin and coriander (1/2 teaspoon of each).  The aioli is so wonderful you might want to make it on its own and spread it on sandwiches or use it as your potato salad base.  Some of that is thanks to my new best spice friend: smoked paprika.  And stirring some of the aioli into the ground turkey is nothing short of genius. 

I used 97% lean ground turkey rather than the dark meat called for in the recipe, just because it’s easier to find.  It was still moist and juicy.

Grilled Turkey Burgers with Cheddar and Smoky Aioli is from the August 2009 issue of Bon Appetit.

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