Part of a continuing summer series by grilling expert Gena Knox.
Turkey burgers can be a healthy alternative to hamburgers, but they can easily lack flavor. I have enjoyed creating recipes to make what is traditionally a dry, flavorless burger into a delicious meal you will want to serve again and again.
There are usually two options when buying ground turkey. Turkey breast is 99 percent fat free, but has little flavor. Then there is ground turkey that includes some dark meat and skin, but can easily contain just as much fat as ground beef. Most of the time I purchase both and create a mixture of 75 percent breast meat and 25 percent dark meat. This gives the burger nice balance and moisture. Short on time, I use the breast meat, but add a few extra ingredients for flavor and moisture.
My favorite creation just may be my most recent: Italian Turkey Burgers.
The key to making my Italian Turkey Burgers with Fresh Mozzarella is the roasted garlic I mix in the turkey. If you've never roasted garlic, try it. You will be surprised by how subtle and sweet the garlic becomes; it gives the burger a rich, delicious flavor.
Simply wrap a few cloves of garlic in a ball of tin foil and bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees F. Once the garlic has cooled, remove the skin and the soft garlic can be spread on fresh bread or incorporated into marinades and salad dressings.
Italian Turkey Burgers with Fresh Mozzarella
This is probably my favorite turkey burger recipe of all time. The roasted garlic adds an amazing flavor and of course I love anything with fresh mozzarella.
PREP TIME 15 minutes
COOK TIME 12 minutes
YIELDS 6 servings
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
6 cloves roasted garlic, mashed into a paste (see recipe below)
2 pounds lean ground turkey
6 whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted
8 ounces fresh, water-packed mozzarella, cut into slices
6 large slices fresh tomato
6 large slices eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
FIRST Prepare mayonnaise by combing ingredients in a small bowl. Place in refrigerator until ready to use. Place ground turkey in a large bowl. Add oregano, basil, mustard and garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper. Using hands, mix ingredients to form into 6 burger patties.
NEXT Preheat grill to medium-high heat. To prepare eggplant, combine vinegar and oil in a small bowl. Season eggplant with salt and brush both sides with vinegar mixture. Brush grill grates with oil and grill burgers for about 6 minutes per side, flipping only once. About 1 minute before burgers are done, place 2 slices of cheese on each burger to melt. Grill eggplant for about 2 minutes per side until tender.
LAST Spread mayonnaise onto each bun, top burgers with grilled eggplant and fresh tomato and serve.
How to roast garlic: Wrap loose garlic cloves (with skin on) in tin foil. Place on a baking sheet and roast in a 350 degree F oven for about 25 minutes until garlic are tender. Once cloves have cooled, peel skin and smash garlic into a paste. It is delicious spread on fresh bread or used in salad dressings and marinades.
Next time burgers are on the menu and you want a healthier option, but still want a killer dinner, try this, my Alder-Planked Southwestern Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Ketchup or my Asian Turkey Burger. Let me know what you think!
Gena Knox is the founder of Fire & Flavor and the author of "Gourmet Made Simple." She's blogging about grilling this summer for Slashfood. For more information on Gena, visit her Web site GenaKnox.com. For more grilling tips, visit the AOL Food Grilling page.
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