shrimp burgers with homemade roasted garlic-orange aioli
This is another one of those recipes that I passed on to Joseph and helpfully suggested that he could make it for me if he wanted. Actually, I found this recipe through the same Food 52 e-mail as those killer ribs, so I’m clearly onto something, because these shrimp burgers were pretty amazing too.
While Joseph was in the kitchen working on the shrimp burgers, I was sitting on the couch resting my knee (recuperating after knee surgery) and perusing David Lebovitz’s blog. On a recent post he talks about how he’s learned that the French don’t really eat a lot of garlic, but he likes it so he was grating raw garlic into his salad vinaigrette. One of the readers yelled in ALL CAPS in the comments about how she couldn’t believe that Lebovitz was putting two whole cloves of garlic in the vinaigrette. All I could think was Lady, it’s a good thing you’re not coming over to our place for dinner. If you are similarly inclined, you may just want to skip this post and read about how I met Chef Jonathan Waxman last weekend instead. If you love garlic as much as I do, then stay tuned because we are bringing it.
Well, I hope we didn’t lose too many people there, because it’s not like these shrimp burgers are obnoxiously garlicky, they’re just garlicky enough. And while you do roast an entire head of garlic, you don’t actually use all of it in the recipe. We weren’t going to let that leftover freshly roasted garlic go to waste, however, and ate it straight up. Sure, we could have slathered it on some bread or something, but who am I kidding? I like obnoxiously garlicky food. It’s just a good thing I was working from home the next day because I’m sure I was still exuding garlic from every pore.
The three things that make these shrimp burgers so good are:
- They use homemade aioli
- The aioli is favored with orange and roasted garlic
- The aioli is served both in and on the burger
Do you notice a trend? And you know what, I was getting curious about what the difference between aioli and mayonnaise really was, because I’ve never liked or trusted mayo, but when I was introduced to aioli a few years ago, for some reason I was totally ok with that. More than ok with it. All that garlic! I loved it! And I always thought that aioli was just mayo flavored with garlic and/or other yummy things. As I learned over on Culinate, aioli is “a smooth Provençal sauce of olive oil and mashed garlic bound with bread and egg yolk” while mayo is “emulsified egg yolk and vegetable oil, with a little vinegar, salt, and pepper.” So they’re both an emulsion, but mayo has a lighter texture than aioli and is made with a neutral oil (canola) versus something with more flavor (olive oil). Nowadays many chefs will call any flavored mayo an aioli, which has led to a lot of people (including me) to think that’s what it is. Call it what you want, but add some garlic to an emulsion of eggs and oil, and I really dig it. Yup, that’s right, I’m over my fear of mayonnaise (as long as it’s homemade and has garlic in it).
We always buy whole wheat hamburger buns both because they’re healthier and simply out of habit. This time we splurged on brioche buns and oh, I can’t tell you how worth it it was. Promise me you’ll get brioche buns for this because you’ll thank me (unless you have a gluten allergy in which case you will certainly not thank me). The fluffy rich bun, paired with the rich (but not too rich!) shrimp burger is the ultimate decadence. You get through the pillowy bun just to bite into some firm, garlicky shrimp with just a bit of crunch from the bell pepper and panko, and round it off with the the zesty roasted garlic orange aioli/mayo, just sending it all over the top.
Now, a fair warning here. We made four burgers and only one of those burgers made it through the whole cooking process in one piece . It’s a very delicate burger and the other three didn’t survive the flipping process even with a delicate hand. You could try putting the shrimp through a food processor – it might help the burger hold its shape a little better, or you can just live with whatever comes out of the pan. I promise you, shrimp burger or shrimp scramble, you’re gonna love it just the same. If you’re feeling nervous about making your own aioli (or mayo), don’t worry. Just go slow and steady as you pour the oil and it’ll come out just fine. Oh, and if you can, make it a day early so the flavors have a day to meld in the fridge.
Shrimp Burgers with Roasted Garlic-Orange Aioli
Adapted from EmilyC on Food52
For the roasted garlic–orange aioli:
- 1 head of garlic
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 1/2 cup grapeseed oil (we used olive oil)
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice plus 1 teaspoon finely grated zest (from 1 orange)
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the shrimp burgers:
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fennel, from one small bulb (fronds reserved)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
- 1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper (whatever color you prefer)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fennel fronds
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
- 1 tablespoon zest from 1 orange
- 1 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, finely chopped by hand
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 to 2 tablespoon roasted garlic-orange aioli
- 2 to 3 tablespoons panko (optional)
- Toasted hamburger buns for serving (preferably brioche)
For the aioli:
- To roast the garlic: Heat the oven to 400F. Peel away the outer skin of 1 garlic head, and cut off top ¼ to ½ inch of the head to expose the individual cloves. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the garlic head, wrap in foil, and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cloves are soft when pressed. Cool, then squeeze the cloves from their skin. Mash 3 cloves and set aside — reserve the rest for another use.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Gradually whisk in the remaining olive oil, then the grapeseed oil; begin with small drizzles, then whisk in a thin stream until the mayo is very thick. Whisk in a pinch of salt and then the orange juice, a little at a time (you may not need the full amount), orange zest and the roasted garlic paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
For the shrimp burgers:
- In a large nonstick sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the fennel and shallots and cook until they start to caramelize, about 8 minutes. Add the red bell pepper and cook about 3 minutes longer; you want the pepper to soften but retain its texture. Remove from the heat. Mix in the fennel fronds, chives, and orange zest.
- In a bowl, combine the shrimp with the sautéed vegetable-herb mixture and salt and pepper (to taste). Fold in aioli, a teaspoon at a time, to just bind the burgers. Form into four patties, and refrigerate until ready to cook.
- Press both sides of each patty into a plate of panko to lightly coat. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a pan (cast iron works well) over medium-high heat and fry the patties until golden, about 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Be extremely careful when flipping the burgers – they’re fragile!
- Spread the aioli on both sides of the toasted buns; serve the shrimp burgers with your favorite condiments, such as a big leaf of lettuce, tomato, etc.
Number of servings (yield): 4