Satay sauce isn’t only for chicken. Try it with this cheeky aubergine burger
- Slice 2 x 2 cm discs from the centre of your aubergine (one for each burger). De-gorge them to draw out any bitter juices and limit oil absorption. Sprinkle on both sides with a little fine salt. Sit them to drain on a cooling rack or into a colander. Leave for 20 minutes.
- Meantime, organise your coating. If you don’t have a store of homemade breadcrumbs or pack of Panko, make your own. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Blitz 25g crustless white bread in a processor or with a hand blender. Spread the crumbs on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until dried out (check them regularly so they don’t burn). Make extra if you want to store.
- Spread the flour over one plate. Season it lightly. Beat the egg on another plate. Tip your dried breadcrumbs over a third.
- Dust the salt off your aubergines and pat them completely dry on kitchen paper. Coat each one in turn. Toss in the seasoned flour. Turn them in the egg, covering well. Dip them into the crumbs and press them well to coat. Return the discs to the egg once more then back into the crumbs for a good protective crunchy layering. Sit them on a plate. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Make the sauce: combine all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed pan. Sit it over a medium heat and stir constantly as it comes to boil. Let it bubble and thicken a little for a minute or so. Taste and adjust the balance with a drop more soy or lemon juice till it’s just as you like it. Set it aside.
- Toast the buns: slice the rolls in two. I like to grill the cut sides on mine until lightly toasted, leaving the tops softer. You can also toast them on a hot griddle pan for a smokier taste if you like.
- Wash, dry and shred the iceberg lettuce.
- Pour just over 2cm oil into a small heavy bottomed frying pan, wok or saucepan. Heat it to 180C using a cooking thermometer to take the heat. Or judge it by dropping a soft breadcrumb into the oil.
- If it sizzles gently and browns up to the count of 10 it’s hot enough. Add the aubergine discs carefully using a large or slotted spoon. Fry them for a few minutes per side, turning once, until golden and crisp outside and cooked in the middle. If you’re not sure, pierce with a metal skewer. Leave for 4 seconds. Take it out and sit it on your wrist. It should be hot. Remove and drain on a piece of kitchen towel.
- Assemble the burger: slather a bit of warm Satay Sauce onto the bread bun bases as you would mayo. Top with a bit of shredded iceberg lettuce. Sit a piece of aubergine on top. Sprinkle a little sea salt. Add 3-4 pieces of pickled ginger. Serve it on the plate with the top of the bun perched at an angle. Have the rest of the Satay Sauce on the table and your favourite Sweet Chilli Sauce. I would (did) have this with oven baked potato wedges. Enjoy.