I keep looking for new stuff to offer you and your family to help beat the COVID-19 Lock Down Cooking Blues. This morning, I’ve got one the kids especially will enjoy, and you’ll have a blast making it. It’s got all the pluses other Lettuce Wrap Burgers have – with some crucial differences and extras…
The 5-Guys Lettuce Burger: Closest any commercial Burger comes to my Inside-Out Burger.
The idea for Inside-Out Burgers grew out of a video, from Delish.com, that outlined how to make Keto-friendly, Tex-Mex-style Quesadillas. Alas, I lost the link to the video, but I can remember enough to recreate it for you. It’s got a base of blanched Cabbage Leaves (the kind you use to make Cabbage Rolls; cores removed, blanched two minutes until just flexible enough to wrap easily) rather than the usual Tortilla. You want to start with Ground Meat (Beef, Pork or a blend) Scramble, top with a Fried Cheddar or Jack Cheese Wafer, Fresh Guacamole, Finely Diced Onions. Then, you close the outer ends of the Cabbage Leaves over the stack, and Microwave 30 seconds or so to heat the Quesadilla through evenly.
I said to myself, “You could eat that easily, from one hand, like a Taco or…”
Thus was born the idea for my Veggie-Wrapped Burger.
Here’s what you do…
I make mine with big, outer leaves of Romain Lettuce with some of the darkest green tops trimmed off. (Basically, just trim off the non-crunchy stuff. Also, trim out the white bases and stems.) Similarly to the Tostada, above, I blanch the Romaine Leaves, but only long enough to make them flexible enough to wrap with. Place your fully cooked Burger Patty (your choice; any Meat, Blend or Veggie recipe) on top and in the centre of the radially overlapping Lettuce Leaves, top with your fave Burger enhancements and then turn in the outer edges of the Leaves to close the ‘Bun’. Use a tooth pick to keep the ‘Bun’ tightly closed until the Top layer of Cheese is melted and acts as an adhesive. Microwave the finished ‘Burger’ just long enough to melt the Cheese.
Blanch the Lettuce carefully, until easy to bite through, but not until it’s fall-apart mushy.
Use lots of Lettuce; enough to create a bed that’s at least two leaves thick at any given point.
Use a minimum of liquid condiments to avoid excess dripping from the ‘Burger’.
I like to place sliced or grated Cheese below the Patty (first in the stack), to ensure it melts evenly and helps hold the stack together. I also like to add some more to the top of the stack, before closing the ‘Bun’, for the same reason. And because I absolutely love Cheese on a Burger.
For the kids, turn their ‘Burgers’ into Frog or Toad Burgers using Pimento-stuffed Olive Slices for eyes and whatever strikes your fancy (Red Onion Slivers, perhaps?) for mouths.
Okay: Other folks have ‘Lettuce Burgers’, but…
In fact, after about 2.7 seconds on Google, I discovered that many Burger slingers have floated Lettuce-Wrapped Burgers at one time or other.
But mine differs crucially from all the rest in that the Lettuce is Romaine, so the the finish on the ‘Bun’ is smoother and more even – ideal for external decorations. And using Romain will ensure that you get a nice, tight, thin Wrap that doesn’t turn off Veggie-averse kids like the half-inch thick Lettuce layer on the pictured Burger. Add to that the fact that the Iceberg Lettuce on the Burger above is not even lightly wilted let alone blanched, nor has it had the tough base and stem parts trimmed out. The Ice Berg leaves will not seal against each other, and will therefore leak condiments and Meat Juices all over the place… Which one would rather serve your family and friends?
~ Maggie J.