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New Orleans French Quarter Burger with Avocado and Plantain Zydeco Relish

This spicy burger illustrates the great blend of cultures represented in the New Orleans French Quarter and includes a spicy beef burger on a French roll topped with melted smoked Gouda cheese, sliced ripe Creole tomato and a fresh tasty relish made from ripe avocados and roasted plantains from the French Market produce market.



1/4 ounce envelope Knox unflavored gelatin

2 teaspoons light brown sugar (firmly packed)

1/4 cup hot water

1/4 cup cold water

2 pounds coarsely ground chuck roast--ground once

1 cup finely chopped fresh green onions

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoons onion powder

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons table salt


1 large ripe Plantain- (black skinned)

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1/4 cup water

3 ripe Hass avocados-diced

1/3 cup diced red onion

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 tablespoon high quality mayonnaise

1/8 teaspoon table salt

2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack

6 slices of smoked Gouda cheese

6 fresh French rolls, split

6 slices of ripe Creole tomato

1 teaspoon kosher salt



Add the gelatin and brown sugar to the hot water and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved then add the cold water and stir to form a gelatin/sugar solution.

Gently, but thoroughly, combine the gelatin/sugar solution, ground chuck, chopped green onions, chopped parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, black pepper and salt to form a seasoned patty mixture. Form the patty mixture into 6 equal sized patties. Cover and refrigerate the patties until ready to grill.


Preheat a gas grill to medium heat. Split the plantain lengthwise. Seal the two plantain halves, the brown sugar and the water within a foil packet formed from a section of heavy duty aluminum foil. Place the sealed foiled packet onto the grill and cook for 10-15 minutes (depending on the ripeness of the plantain) turning the packet over after 5-6 minutes.

Remove the sealed packet from the grill and allow it to cool sealed for 10-15 minutes. After cooling, remove the cooked plantain halves from the packet, remove the peels and dice the plantain flesh.

Gently combine the diced cooked plantain, diced avocado, diced red onion, fresh lime juice, mayonnaise and salt; cover and set aside.


Preheat a gas grill to medium heat. When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with the vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, for 10-12 minutes turning every 3-4, until an internal temperature of at least 140 degrees F is reached and the patties are done to preference. Place a Gouda cheese slice on each of the patties during the last 3-4 minutes of grilling. Place the French rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling.

To assemble the burgers, place a cheese-topped patty on each toasted roll bottom, followed by a slice of ripe Creole tomato that has been sprinkled with an equal portion of the kosher salt and topped with an equal portion of the avocado & plantain zydeco relish. Add the toasted roll tops and serve.

Makes 6 burgers.


The gelatin/sugar solution in these burgers makes them wonderfully juicy, much like the gelatin in slow cooked ribs makes them juicy. They can easily be cooked to a higher internal temperature than most burgers without drying out and don't require anything like mayonnaise, mustard or ketchup to add juiciness. The gelatin/sugar solution also causes the outside of the patties to brown more quickly so the patties should be cooked on a lower heat and turned more frequently than is traditional.