Summer grilling will soon be upon us, so I was excited to receive this cookbook for review. I love a good burger and enjoy interesting ideas on how to mix up the flavors to make unique, gourmet-style burgers.
Title: Burgers: 52 Easy Recipes for Year-round Cooking (Recipe of the Week)
Author: Sally Sampson
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Authored by Sally Sampson who has served as editor-in-chief at Balducci.com and was a senior writer at Cooks Illustrated, the book is nicely styled and contains beautiful photos. The recipes are simple yet packed with flavor and cover not only beef burgers but also lamb, pork, turkey, chicken, fish, mushroom and bean burgers. I made the Jerk Burgers last night using ground turkey:
The burgers turned out flavorful and quite satisfying even without a bun. The burgers contained chopped green onion, minced garlic, soy sauce, jalapenos along with a mix of chinese 5-spice, allspice, thyme, nutmeg, and black pepper. I served with steamed broccoli and spicy re-fried beans (i.e. fat free).
I enjoy the variety that the cookbook offers, especially by offering vegetarian options. I plan to also try the black bean burgers which are featured on the book’s cover, as well as the ones utilizing fish.
I’ll admit that the book reminded me instantly of Rachael Ray who is known for taking a traditional dish’s flavor and making it into something altogether different. You will find some degree of this in the book with curry burgers, asian-style burgers, and cubano-style burgers. I enjoy books like this because they help jump-start my mind and get me thinking of what else I can do with burgers.
While the cookbook offers great ideas, there are a couple issues I found distracting and must point out. The book contains little content aside from the recipes, however there is a 1-pager at the opening which describes how to prep your coal-burning grill. Oddly though, this same information is added to nearly every recipe as well, each recipe ending with the steps on how to prep your grill.
Even more disturbing are the cooking instructions, also seemingly tacked on to each recipe. The author states to cook for 8-10 minutes for medium rare and 10-12 minutes for medium. This is expected advice for red meat … but also for turkey and chicken burgers? I assume this is an error and that the author does not actually recommend cooking poultry to medium rare. My stomach turns just thinking about it. Once again, this information is added to each recipe and creates unnecessary repetition.
Aside from the book’s quirks, I do find it already generating ideas for me and I appreciate the wonderful photos it contains. I intend to use it as a reference once we start grilling.