Hamburgers are so central to American culture that messing with them can seem almost sacrilegious. And it’s kind of perilous to boot. Replace the beef with low-fat turkey, as in this recipe, and you risk creating a drier, less flavorful burger, a burger unworthy of the name.
Here I’ve countered the moisture problem with vegetables. The sautéed onion and red pepper in the burger and the salsa on top of the burger make up for any dryness in the turkey. The Creole seasoning, in combination with the salsa, makes up for turkey’s relative lack of flavor.
I’m not the kind of diet conscious eater who reflexively reaches for the low-fat alternative to every dish, but this low-fat burger really is delicious and satisfying.
For the salsa:
- 12 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup cooked fresh corn or thawed frozen corn kernels
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
For the burgers:
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon store-bought or homemade Creole Spice Mix (recipe follows)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pound ground turkey
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
To make the salsa, toss the tomatoes with the salt and drain in a colander for 15 minutes. Combine the tomatoes, corn, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, and olive oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss well.
To prepare the burgers, preheat the oven to 400ºF. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and red pepper and cook, until softened, about 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Combine the onion, pepper, Creole spice mix, salt, and turkey in a large bowl. Season with pepper. Mix well and form into 4 patties. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large ovenproof grill pan or skillet over medium heat.
Place the burgers in the skillet and cook until well browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to the oven and cook until firm to the touch, about 6 minutes. Serve topped with the salsa.
Creole Spice Mix: Mix 4 teaspoons hot paprika, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 1/2 cup.