While perusing through my pile of recent magazine recipes I came across one from Food and Wine for “Crunchy Pork Kimchi Burgers” and I thought well, this sounds weird, but oddly good at the same time. Then I went to the Northampton Tuesday Market and there was a vendor sampling fresh kimchi which was nothing like the shelf-stable stuff that I had eaten in the past — a little less crunchy, a little less bitter, more sweet, and simply lovely. Just a hop-skip-and-jump up from her stand was Mockingbird Farm who had ground pork for sale and I just knew that I had to give this recipe a try. I grabbed some baby spinach from Enterprise Farm and now had the makings for this lovely sounding dish, locally sourced. Since I was on a roll, and they looked fantastic, I grabbed some white turnips too (from Old Friends Farm) — I figured they’d be great for roasting.
Since I’ve eaten primarily grain-free since the beginning of this year, I adjusted the recipe to omit the flour and panko and obviously had a different end product than what was advertized in the magazine. I really loved the dish the way that I made it and will definitely make it again this same way.
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 large garlic clove, pressed
2 scallions, chopped
1 lb. ground pork
3/4 cup finely chopped kimchi (I ran it through the food processor rather than hand-chopping)
Sprinkle of Kosher salt
Vegetable oil, for frying
10 oz. baby spinach
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
sesame seeds (for garnish)
- In a bowl combine the ginger, garlic, scallions, pork and kimchi with the salt
- Form the mixture into eight small patties, about half an inch thick (to get these all a uniform size, I used a number 2 scoop)
- In a large skillet (cast iron if you’ve got it), heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil. Add the patties and fry over moderate heat, turning once only, until you have a beautiful crisp on each side and there is no more pink visible from the outside (you want them to be cooked through)
- Set aside to drain on paper towels and let the juices finish distributing
- Pour off all of the vegetable oil from the skillet and add some toasted sesame oil and the baby spinach, season with salt and pepper and cook over a medium-high heat until wilted (about 1 minute)
- In a small dish, mix the mayonnaise, sesame oil and soy sauce
- Pile the spinach on plates and top with the sliders, drizzle with the sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy
I will admit to eating two left-over patties the next day, straight out of the fridge. A different experience, but good still. The sauce is a bit salty, so be sure not to over-do it.