Chef Demo: The Perfect Mushroom Burger

Chef Demo: The Perfect Mushroom Burger

Chef Ian Thompson takes the veggie burger to new heights.

From setting up his mise en place to plating his dish, Ian Thompson is deliberate and precise. That precision carries over to his food: chickpea fries with angles so perfect you could teach a geometry class with them. And Thompson’s mushroom burger has flavors so right-on and complex, it could teach other veggie burgers a lesson.

Too often, veggie burgers are pasty, dry…just a poor substitute in general for a good old 80/20 percent-fat beef patty. Not so here, at Radius, the fine dining restaurant on the campus of Judson Smart Living, a CCRC in Chagrin Falls, OH, where Thompson has been executive chef since last year.

This veggie burger is juicy and meaty, like all great burgers. It even has the all-important crust on the outside of the patty that burger-junkies seek out. The texture owes its meatiness to a combination of ingredients, including mashed potato, which takes the burger into croquette territory—in a good way.

Thompson mashes the potato with a rice mill, hauling it out reverently.

Step 1: Quarter half the mushrooms and leave the others whole. The whole ones are roasted and the quartered ones will add texture to the burger.
Step 1: Quarter half the mushrooms and leave the others whole. The whole ones are roasted and the quartered ones will add texture to the burger.
Step 2: Saute the quartered mushrooms with fresh rosemary in a hot pan with oil.
Step 2: Saute the quartered mushrooms with fresh rosemary in a hot pan with oil.

 

Step 3: Boil and drain the peeled potatoes.
Step 3: Boil and drain the peeled potatoes.
Step 4: Put the potatoes through a potato ricer. This gives the patties body and a definite burger-like consistency along with the mushrooms.
Step 4: Put the potatoes through a potato ricer. This gives the patties body and a definite burger-like consistency along with the mushrooms.

Step 5: Make a puree with half of the mushrooms, eggs, sherry and fresh herbs.
Step 5: Make a puree with half of the mushrooms, eggs, sherry and fresh herbs.
Step 6: Use the base for the hand-formed patties with panko.
Step 6: Use the base for the hand-formed patties with panko.

Step 7: Top with pickled onions, Swiss cheese and arugula. Serve Harissa (North African chile spice blend) aioli and chickpea fries on the side.
Step 7: Top with pickled onions, Swiss cheese and arugula. Serve Harissa (North African chile spice blend) aioli and chickpea fries on the side.