Wine Varietal: Zinfandel
I have taken about 10 Caribbean cruises in my life which are always a great time, in large part because of the cuisine that I have enjoyed on the islands.This burger was inspired by all these fresh, tropical flavors. By putting them together I have achieved tropical burger greatness!
Caramelized Plantain Mayo:
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup diced very ripe plantain (peel will have lots of black spots)
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, crushed and finely minced (or grated)
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup flour
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups okra, stems removed, sliced into 3/4-inch rounds with a very sharp knife
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 pounds ground pork
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely minced green onions
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (preferably West Indian)
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon Caribbean hot sauce (preferably scotch bonnet hot sauce)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
6 potato hamburger buns
6 slices Jalapeno Jack cheese
6 leaves Boston or butter lettuce
Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat.
To make Caramelized Plantain Mayo, heat a large fireproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; when hot, add plantain, sprinkle with brown sugar, and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer plantain to a small bowl; let cool. Add mayonnaise, garlic, and vinegar. Mash with the back of a fork until well combined.
To make Coconut-Fried Okra, fill a large fireproof saucepan to a depth of about 2 1/2 inches with oil. Heat to 375 degrees F. Set out three shallow dishes. Fill the first with flour, the second with egg and water (mix until well combined), and the third with panko and coconut (mix until well combined). Dredge the okra first in the flour, then shake off excess; dredge in the egg wash, then shake off excess; dredge in the panko coconut mixture; then shake off excess. Add about 1/3 of the okra to the hot oil and cook for 2-3 minutes until the coconut is toasted and crispy. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining okra in batches. Season with salt.
To make the patties, combine the pork, mayonnaise, green onions, curry powder, allspice, thyme, hot sauce, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the buns.
Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Spread equal amounts of butter on the cut sides of the buns. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, about 5 to 6 minutes on each side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, top the burgers with a slice of cheese and place the bread, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.
To assemble the burgers, spread some of the Caramelized Plantain Mayo on the cut sides of the bread. On each bread bottom, place a leaf of lettuce, a patty, and a generous amount of coconut fried okra. Add bread tops.
Makes 6 burgers.