February 7, 2013

Umami So Fat!

Umami...that elusive 5th flavor...

You've likely heard all about it in those Kikkoman soy sauce commercials.  But tonight, we bring you umami burgers.  Just like the ones in LA.  And instead of fries, we went with kimchi brussels sprouts, ala Momofuku.

So let's start with the burgers.  To get the umami flavor, we finally got to use our bottarga, plus some pulverized dried straw mushrooms and nori.  With that, we mixed in a blend of white pepper, salt and wasabi that we picked up from the Asian market last week.  This gave us a salty, savory umami dust to work with.

We were fortunate enough to receive some ground beef from Polyface Farms.  If you've been following along, you'll remember me gushing about Polyface here.  We mixed the beef with our umami dust and a splash of fish sauce.  Then we just formed them into 2 patties and got them into the pan to start cookin'.
While the burgers cooked, we got to work on the kimchi brussels sprouts.  I should've kept the last beating stick...then we could've had a proper duel!
But alas...we started with some bacon...because every good dish starts with bacon.  Once it was nice and crispy, we threw the sprouts into the pan so they could roll around in the bacon fat.
Once they were seared, we slid them into the oven to roast.  After about 15min., they came out of the oven, and were bathed in some butter, salt and pepper.  We added the bacon back into the pan, along with some of our sliced kimchi.
We let all the flavors meld together for a few minutes, so each ingredient was coated in the butter, and spicy juices of the kimchi.  By the time the sprouts were done, so were the burgers.  We're getting much better with this whole timing thing!  The sprouts were garnished with a little raw carrot, and our burgers got some avocado and creasy greens.
The burgers had such a rich, salty, savory flavor, and creaminess of the avocado balanced it all out.  The sprouts were nicely roasted, with a sharp spiciness from the kimchi and a nice crunch from the raw carrots.  It was quite the delicious meal!

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