Turkey-Swiss Chard Burgers with Arugula and Lemon-Basil Aioli

Photo by Michael Piazza / Styled by Catrine Kelty

Standard turkey burgers can be on the dry side—to be safe from salmonella you have to cook them all the way through, but that can render them dense and tasteless with a texture like sawdust. Adding sautéed chard, some salty crumbled cheese and a couple of eggs to bind it all together keeps these burgers moist and tender. The richness of the Stone & Skillet English muffins, available at many local independent markets and grocers, complements the burgers perfectly, but a standard English muffin or other type of good bread roll can be used in their place.

Makes 6 burgers

For burgers:
1 small bunch rainbow Swiss chard (6-8 leaves, fewer if they are really large)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1½ pounds ground turkey (try Bob’s Turkey Farm at the Newton or Brookline farmers markets)
1 small bunch chives, minced
1 small bunch basil, chopped
4 ounces Narragansett Creamery Salty Sea Feta (cow’s milk)
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup fine dry breadcrumbs

For aïoli and serving:
½ cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
½ clove garlic, grated
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
juice and zest of one lemon
pinch of sugar
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 Stone & Skillet English muffins, split
1 cup baby arugula leaves

Strip the leaves from the stalks of the chard and set aside, then mince the stalks finely. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion, garlic, and minced chard stalks. Sauté until lightly browned and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Shred the chard leaves and add to the skillet to wilt, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.

When the vegetables have cooled, combine them in a bowl with the ground turkey, minced chives, chopped basil, crumbled feta, beaten egg, bread crumbs, ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste. Using your hands, mix to incorporate and then form into 6 patties. Set aside in the fridge to rest at least one hour and up to one day.

When ready to cook, preheat a grill or cast iron skillet. To make the aïoli, stir the garlic, basil, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, salt and pepper into the mayonnaise. Toast the English muffins and spread each cut side with some of the aioli.

Grill or pan-fry the burgers until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes per side. Place each burger on a bottom bun and top with a handful of arugula and the top bun. Serve immediately.

This recipe appeared in the Summer 2015 issue.