Raise your hand if you don’t like French fries. (and, if it is because you believe them to be called Freedom fries, you may exit this blog immediately).
No doubt there are certain types of fries you may not care for, but – and this is perhaps a gross generalization – most people like French fries.
So, here’s the follow-up: what is your favorite type of French fry? In need of a great opening for your next networking event, you’re welcome. As silly as it may sound, this line of questioning can lead to serious discussions, even potential arguments, over which form of fried potato reigns supreme. Thick-cut steak fries? I know those are near the bottom of Aaron’s rankings. The spiraled delight of the curly fry? How about the porous waffle fry? Skinny? Sweet potato? Shoestring? Home fries? The list could go on and on. One that tends to be overlooked but eoften vokes strong memories of cafeteria lunches is this one:
The crinkle fry. An ole-forgotten standby of many diners, drive-ins, and now, our freezer. During menu planning last week, I had already pinpointed Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Island Black Bean Burgers as one of the new recipes to test out. As American as I can possibly sound, what goes best with burgers?
Yes, there was some stir-fried kale served alongside the burgers. But really, I meant:
Unfortunately, the actual burger component of this meal went to hell-in-a-handbasket quickly. It wasn’t the preparation portion that threw me into a tailspin. Apparently, during the shopping trip, I failed to open my eyes and actually read what I was purchasing. Sooo…instead of cilantro, I picked up parsley. And, instead of scallions, I purchased shallots. And, to boot, my Jamaican curry powder arrived at 8pm that evening, so the spice component was all improv.
Regardless, these burgers were outstanding, and I know they will even taste BETTER with the island-infused curry powder and perhaps cooking my black beans just a tiny bit longer so the mashing process goes a little easier.
Isa includes a recipe for nectarine salsa with these burgers. But, since nectarines aren’t in season, I didn’t want to chance it. Instead, I picked up some Mrs. Renfro’s Mango Habanero Salsa. In three words: ay de mi!
Island Black Bean Burgers
Makes 8 burgers (mine made 10 somehow)
Total time: 45 minutes; Active time: 20 minutes
For the burgers:
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained (1 1/2 cups)
1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup finely chopped scallions
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoon Jamaican curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Additional toppings of choice (mango or pineapple salsa is fun!)
Preheat the oven to 400F.
In a medium bowl, use a small potato masher (or a strong fork) to mash the black beans and black-eyed peas. They should be good and mushy but not totally pureed, with a few beans still identifiable in the mix.
Add the red pepper, scallions, cilantro, curry powder, salt, broth, and lime juice and mix well. Mix in the panko until it all holds together. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or so.
Then, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray or brush with oil. Form the burger mixture into 8 patties (or more) that are about 1 inch thick. Spray or brush with a little more oil and bake for 15 minutes. Flip the burgers and bake for 12 to 15 more minutes, until nicely browned.
A note from Isa: she writes in Isa Does It that to make a perfect patty every time, use a 3-inch cookie cutter. Pat the mixture into it, and don’t worry about fingerprints (they will flatten out when you flip them). If you don’t have a 3-inch cookie cutter, use an empty 15-ounce can and press it into the veggie burger mixture. Then, simply pop the patty out of the can!
And what to dip those crinkle fries in? We kept it local with some Num Num Sauce.
The burning question: what is your favorite French fry shape?