Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Potato and Chickpea 'Burger' with Cilantro Pesto

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Those with cilantro aversion should probably look away right now, because I've made cilantro pesto. I got the idea from the New York Times article on cilantro haters. I've witnessed cilantro haters in action all my life; my mother spends a significant amount of time picking cilantro out of her food whenever we dine out. I happen to find cilantro inoffensive. I have even grown to appreciate it after years of eating Chinese and Mexico food. Cilantro pesto, as it turns out, does have a milder taste. The combination of cilantro and pistachios is a good one; the earthy nutty sweetness of pistachios makes cilantro taste less sharp and soapy.

You'll need:
  • 2 lightly packed cups of cilantro
  • 1 cup of toasted pistachios
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 celery ribs, minced
Start by processing cilantro, pistachios, garlic and 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into a thick, smooth paste. Puree canned chickpeas into a paste. Sweat onion and celery in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Combine onion, celery, cilantro pesto, mashed potatoes, bread crumbs and chickpeas. You definitely don't need an egg in this mixture because it will be thick.

Form patties and pan fry over medium high heat in a non-stick skillet for 4 minutes each side. The serving options are pretty much endless. I think this would be good with some salsa and avocado slices. Here, I made an open faced sandwich with a slice of tomato, some baby greens and a three-and-a-half minute poached egg. We got this awesome raisin and walnut bread from Andrae's Bakery in Amador City, where we spent a wonderful weekend wine tasting. The sweetness of the bread really complements the creamy and nutty patties.

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