I love a good burger. It may be my desert island food, in no small part because there are so many different ways to make one, so it’s impossible to get bored. Which is a good thing, because as I’m now the parent of a 13 year old six foot tall eating machine who requests burgers and/or pizza for dinner every night by placing (begging) his order the night before, I’ve been coming up with variations on the most obvious burger formula. So when the Turkey Farmers of Canada asked if I’d come up with a recipe using Canadian turkey, it was an easy (and delicious) challenge, and of course I like to support our Canadian farmers whenever I can.
These are a play on the classic chicken parm, made with ground turkey – an easy, convenient, versatile everyday protein that has great flavour and juiciness – essential elements of a good burger. A smashburger is one that has been pressed down into a thin patty in a hot skillet, which mimics a thin cutlet while providing more surface area for browned bits and crispy edges. You could, if you like, dredge the patty in Panko or dry breadcrumbs before you cook it, but I prefer to have the flavour of the turkey come through by allowing the meat itself to brown in the hot pan.
A cast iron skillet is my best friend when it comes to making burgers, indoors or out – it can get good and hot, and transmits the heat well to develop a nice crust, and if you’re camping or even using the barbecue, it can go directly on the grill or over an open fire. As for the patties themselves, you don’t need to add anything at all to ground turkey to make burgers – no breadcrumbs, eggs or other fillers or binders – all you need is some salt to boost flavour and some oil for the pan. It truly is the quickest, simplest dinner to put on the table, and can be switched up in so many ways – sometimes I make turkey burgers with crumbled feta and chopped sautéed greens (I always have a ton of spinach in the garden over the summer), shape the patty around a mini babybel for cheese-stuffed burgers, blend ground turkey with turkey sausage or sprinkle it with dry barbecue rub before putting it in the pan. And last year we all got hooked on turkey sloppy Joe sliders made with pan buns, which are so perfect for feeding a crowd, particularly when they’re standing/reclining on the patio/or otherwise not seated at the table. If you’re looking for more inspiration, Think Turkey has a great collection of recipes to keep you inspired through the summer.