Friday, 11 January 2013

Friday night dinner

Friday night dinner to me has always meant something that's a bit of a end-of-week tasty treat (or guilty pleasure, if you will) in my head that essentially means "something" 'n' chips. So, not something that I'd particularly write about but tonight I made a ridiculously tasty Italian pork burger and polenta chips.

The burger was a big juicy meaty mouthful with the herbs and spices coming through perfectly. The lettuce added a fresh crunch and the tomato a sweet and fruity touch with a mild tang. The bun has been coated with a little balsamic vinegar dressing before toasting. The tomato and lettuce had been lightly tossed with the same dressing which really helped pull the whole burger together.

As for the polenta chips: what a revelation! The griddled hunks of cornmeal were ridiculously crisp on the outside with stripes of charred goodness covering rich, smooth, cheesy innards. PHEN. OM. EN. AL.

I just wanted to take bite after bite without stopping, juices dripping down my chin and over my fingers; so incredibly satisfying. How could any fast food experience ever compete with this?

For the pork burgers:
1lb pork mince
1 aubergine
2 cloves garlic
3tbsp parsley, chopped
1/2tbsp sage, chopped
Pinch crushed dried chillies
1tbsp Parmesan, grated
Zest 1/2 lemon
1/2tbsp plain flour
1tbsp polenta
For the dressing:
2tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1tsp Balsamic vinegar
To serve: 
Salad leaves
Slices of ripe tomato
Parmesan shavings
For the polenta chips:
100g easy-cook polenta
250ml water
125ml milk
2oz Parmesan, grated
2oz butter

1. Start with the polenta as it needs to time to set.
2. Cook the polenta according to the pack instructions using the milk and water as the liquid. Stir in the Parmesan and butter. Add touch more water to give a very thick but smooth pouring consistency.
3. Pour into a container that will enable the polenta to set to at least a 1cm/1/2" slab. Refrigerate and allow to set.
4. For the burger start by pricking the aubergine all over with a fork and bake at 200°C for about 30min or until the aubergine is soft and has collapsed. Once cool, remove the flesh from the aubergine and roughly chop.
5. Put the flesh in a sieve and push out any moisture.
6. Fry the garlic in olive oil over a low heat lightly until soft and golden.
7. Gently mix the aubergine, parsley, mince, garlic, sage, chilli, Parmesan and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper..
8. Fry a tablespoon of the mix to check the seasoning. Adjust as required.
9. Form the mince into four burger patties (quarter-pounders) and refrigerate for at least 30min.
10. Mix the polenta and flour with salt and pepper and lightly coat the patties.
11. Fry in a searingly hot pan for about 4min each side.
12. Unmould the polenta and cut into big chips. Brush with oil and season. Griddle for about 1min on two sides.
13. Mix together the balsamic vinegar and olive oil and brush over the bap. Toast for about 1min.
14. Just before serving brush the dressing on thick slices of tomato and add fry for a few seconds each side on the griddle pan.
15. Lightly dress the lettuce leaves.
16. Build the burger: bun, lettuce, tomato, burger, Parmesan shavings, bun. Serve with the chips and enjoy.

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