Panko-crusted deep-fried king oyster mushroom burger with courgette kimchi

For 6 burgers

2 onions
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp finely chopped dried shiitake mushrooms
600g king oyster mushrooms
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
100g panko breadcrumbs
3 eggs
90–120g plain flour
1 litre peanut oil
sea salt

To serve

6 burger buns
butter for the buns
lettuce leaves
Courgette Kimchi *
spring onions
finely sliced chilli

Peel and chop the onions and put them in a cold saucepan together with the butter. Put the saucepan on a medium heat and put the lid on. The onions will soon start to release liquid, and the flavours will be concentrated as a result of their cooking in their own juices. Stir with a wooden spoon once every 5 minutes for 30–40 minutes, and check that they’re not burning. (If you notice they’re starting to get too dry you can add the vinegar earlier.)

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Add the vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and dried shiitake mushrooms to the onions in the saucepan. Raise the heat and cook for about 15 minutes until considerably reduced. Take the saucepan off the heat and put to one side. Cut the oyster mushrooms into 5 mm (¼ in) cubes. Heat the rapeseed oil in a frying pan until it starts to smoke. Add the mushrooms and flash-fry them so they develop some colour. Then remove the frying pan from the heat and allow to cool.

Stir together the fried oyster mushrooms, onion mix and 2 tablespoons of the panko breadcrumbs in a bowl and mix together well. Take a handful of mixture at a time and shape into 6 round patties by hand. Put the patties on a plate and cover with cling film. Leave in the freezer until frozen through.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Break the eggs into a bowl and lightly whisk them. Pour the flour and remaining panko breadcrumbs into separate bowls and place the bowls in a row near to the cooker. Fill a high-sided saucepan with the peanut oil and place on the hob. Heat the oil to 190°C (375°F), then reduce the setting to medium and try to keep the oil at 190°C (375°F) as far as possible.

Remove the oyster mushroom patties from the freezer and dip them first in the flour, then in the whisked egg and finally in the panko breadcrumbs. Deep-fry 2 patties at a time in the oil for 2–3 minutes on both sides so they develop a golden-brown colour, pushing them around with a slotted spoon. Lift the patties out and drain on paper towel. Sprinkle with salt on both sides. Transfer them to an ovenproof dish and bake them in the oven for 5–10 minutes.

Shred the green parts of the spring onions. Butter the buns on the cut surface and fry them quickly in a frying pan or grill (broil) them in the oven. Put a little lettuce at the bottom of each bun. Place a patty on top, spoon over some courgette kimchi and finish off with spring onions and chilli.

Courgette burger with grilled spring onions and wild garlic

Makes 6 burgers

100g butter
120g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of sea salt
100 ml milk
1 egg
100 ml cold water
25g panko breadcrumbs
2 medium courgettes (zucchini)
butter for frying

Grilled spring onions

2 tsp roasted pepper seasoning **
2–3 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tsp sesame oil
sea salt
6 spring onions

To serve

1 bunch of wild garlic or chives
6 burger buns
butter for the buns
a little Sriracha sauce or Kimchi as necessary

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Melt the butter over a low heat.

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add the milk and egg and whisk together to form an even, fairly thick batter. Stir in the butter and water, then fold in the panko breadcrumbs. Put to one side.

Finely shred the courgettes with a mandoline, preferably using a grating attachment. You can also coarsely grate the courgettes with a normal grater, but bear in mind that the courgettes will then release liquid, which you must remove.

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    Put the courgette strips on a baking tray and douse them with the batter. Heat a frying pan (skillet) and put in a knob of butter. Transfer a little of the courgette mixture at a time to the frying pan using a fork, and form small courgette pancakes. Fry for a minute or so on both sides so they take on a golden colour. If you want you can use a food ring (see page 10) to start with, so the courgette pancakes hold together better, in which case you should put the food ring straight into the frying pan and fill it with the courgette mixture.

    Transfer the courgette pancakes to an ovenproof dish and bake in the oven for 5–10 minutes. Put 2 teaspoons of the roasted pepper seasoning into a large plastic bag. Pour in the rapeseed oil, sesame oil and salt. Put to one side. You can of course add other seasoning such as garlic and chilli if you wish, for extra flavour and heat.

    Cook the spring onions on a barbecue or fry them in a dry frying pan over a high heat, allowing them to develop a little colour. Put the onions into the bag of marinade, tie the top and leave for 10–15 minutes so the spring onions steam in their own heat.  Chop the wild garlic or chives. If you can get hold of wild garlic with flowers or buds then use them too. They not only look nice but also have a lovely mild flavour reminiscent of roasted garlic.

    Butter the buns on the cut surface and fry them quickly in a frying pan or grill (broil) them in the oven. But two courgette pancakes on each bun and top with spring onions and wild garlic, and a little Sriracha sauce or kimchi as necessary.

    Oven-baked Jerusalem artichoke burger with creamy miso sauce and herb mix

    For 6 burgers

    1 kg Jerusalem artichokes
    rapeseed or peanut oil for frying
    6 tbsp butter

    Herb mix

    2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
    2 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
    6 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
    2 tsp crushed green peppercorns
    2 tsp white wine vinegar
    2 tbsp olive oil
    sea salt

    Miso sauce

    50g butter
    4 tbsp miso paste
    300 ml pouring cream

    To serve

    6 burger buns
    butter for the buns
    lettuce leaves

    Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Mix all the ingredients for the herb mix in a bowl (the mix will be tastiest if you finely chop the herbs instead of mixing them in a blender).

    Brush the Jerusalem artichokes clean, but retain as much of the skins as possible. I usually use a hard toothbrush to get into all the nooks and crannies. I also cut away the small knotted parts, where there can be a lot of soil. Heat the oil in a frying pan (skillet) until it starts to smoke.

    Fry the Jerusalem artichokes until the skins are golden brown all over – this takes 10–15 minutes. Transfer the artichokes to a baking tray lined with baking parchment and put in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until the artichokes are cool enough to handle.

    Melt the butter for the miso sauce over a medium heat. Stir in the miso paste. Reduce the heat and whisk in the cream, a little at a time, until you have a glossy, golden brown sauce. Put to one side. Gently bash the Jerusalem artichokes with a spoon so they open up a little. Shape 6 small patties, either by hand or using a food ring. Put a knob of butter on each patty. Bake in the oven for a further 10 minutes.

    Butter the buns on the cut surface and fry them quickly in a frying pan or grill (broil) them in the oven. Put a lettuce leaf at the bottom of each bun. Place a patty on top, spoon over a little miso sauce and finish off with a dash of herb mix.

    * Courgette kimchi

    Makes about 700g

    1 kg courgettes
    200g peeled mooli
    1¼ tbsp salt
    150g Kimchi Base

    Shred the courgettes and the mooli with a mandoline, preferably using a grating attachment, to produce long, thin strips. Put the courgettes and mooli into a bowl. Massage in the salt with your hands and leave at room temperature for at least an hour so the vegetables have time to release their liquid.

    Add the kimchi base to the bowl of courgettes and mooli. Mix carefully with a wooden spoon. Sterilise a 1 litre jar (preferably one with a rubber sealing ring and metal clip such as a Kilner or Mason jar). Pack the kimchi into the jar a little at a time.

    Press it down with a wooden spoon so you get it all in (including the liquid). Seal the jar and put it on a plate – it is a good idea to slip a plastic bag around it, as in all probability a fair bit of liquid will escape (just make sure you do not seal the top of the bag). Leave the jar at room temperature for 3 days. For a more acidic kimchi, leave it at room temperature for up to 5 days. This is something I think you should experiment with over time, to find the flavour you like best.

    Put the jar in the fridge and leave for at least 1 week so the flavours can develop (I usually leave the kimchi for at least 2 weeks before I use it, but it is a matter of taste).

    ** Roasted pepper seasoning

    2 tbsp coriander seeds
    ​2 tbsp Sichuan pepper
    2 tbsp whole black peppercorns

    Heat a dry cast-iron pan over a medium heat. Toast the coriander seeds, Sichuan pepper and black peppercorns until the seeds start to go golden brown and there is a clear spice aroma.

    Pound the spices in a mortar or mix them to a fine powder with a hand blender. Store in a jar.

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