shrimp burgers with homemade roasted garlic-orange aioli

Shrimp Burgers with 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.

Head of Garlic

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.

Caramelized shallots and fennel, bell pepper, chives, and orange zest

The three things that make these shrimp burgers so good are:

  1. They use homemade aioli
  2. The aioli is favored with orange and roasted garlic
  3. 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).

Shrimp Burgers with Roasted Garlic-Orange Aioli

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.

Shrimp Burgers with Roasted Garlic-Orange Aioli

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.


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