Spring has sprung! At least on the northern hemisphere - sorry, southern folks, it's our turn now! And even if Spring hasn't exactly come yet to where you live, because we all know that seasons don't follow days on a calendar, you've probably started noticing the shift of energy that accompanies the Equinox. The days grow longer, the Sun's arch is wider, some birds are returning after their travels down south, while others say farewell until next Autumn. Some wild flowers start to bloom, insects show up behind every tree and the garden seems to be bursting with a renewed excitement. We, too, feel this change. For me, I feel like waking up after a long wintery sleep and making long lists of everything I wish to do on this sunny days ahead. I feel like cleansing my body of the slow wintery sluggishness and get my limbs moving wide once again. I feel like giving everything a good scrub, airing up every linen and tapestry. But most of all? I feel like cooking.
Around the equinox, after a long and weary day of land clearing (more on that later, I promise!), I went to the garden for a little harvest and felt like really celebrating the shift of season through a filling and rich meal. And I thought, well why, garden burgers it will be!
You can do these burgers with any leafy green, roots, stems or flowers you have. You can also incorporate wild greens - I think nettle, chickweed or young dandelion leaves would make a wonderful addition. But as I've said before, when in doubt, don't pick. Make sure you know what you are picking, know the poisonous plants in your bio-region and always cross and double check references. And, if you're foraging for the first time, make sure you take along a seasoned herbalist or forager friend!
Right! Gathered your vegetables? Gathered your roots? Your free abundant generous and resilient greens? Let's head to the place where magic happens - the kitchen!
The quantity of vegetables you use in your burgers is totally up to you. In the end, what it really comes to is having the right texture, so they don't crumble apart as you flip them on the skillet.
- Start by cooking your choice of cereals, grains or pulses. When soft, set aside and let it cool down. If using large pulses, like beans, you may want to mash it a bit.
- Combine all your greens and roots together with the onion and garlic and add this mixture to the base you just cooked. Use your hand to combine everything thoroughly. If using an egg, crack it inside.
- Now, it's rule of thumb. Keep adding breadcrumbs until the texture is malleable. It can still be a bit runny, and there is nothing like placing a dollop on the skillet with a tiny bit of olive oil and see if you can flip it using two spoons and care, without crumbling it.
- Got the right texture? Wonderful! Now you can slowly fry them in medium flame, until golden. I recommend covering them with a large lid while cooking, to ensure they cook right to the center.
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- A couple handfuls of greens, thinly sliced
- Roots, grated
- 2 cups of cereals, grains or pulses (this is what keeps it all together! I used red lentils)
- about 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs, or what necessary for a firm texture (I literally grated a piece of old homemade bread about the size of my fist)
- 1 egg (optional, for consistency)
- Olive oil, or a local oil you use
Ah, my choice of greens was cabbage blooms, savoy cabbage leaves, mustard leaves and radishes.
Grab some homemade bread (well, I'm sure hamburger bread would do just as fine!), sauces (uh-uuuh), salad leaves and a nice glass of fizzling kombucha! Happy spring on a plate!
Have you got any favorite ways of celebrating Spring at the table? I'd love to know them! <3