October 25, 2013
Gigantes & Briam Burgers
This is really more of a serving suggestion than a recipe, per se.
Remember the Briam that I enthused about last summer? Well, I started with the notion that I would make a veggie burger, using ground chickpeas in a sort of falafel-inspired patty, but when I realized that I also had leftover Gigantes, I thought I'd make the patties with those, instead.
The Gigantes are rather soft, so, in the absence of any aggressive thickener, such as chickpea flour (and with the vague notion of keeping the patty gluten-free, although the bun pictured here is not), once I mashed the beans up, the resultant patties were very soft, almost bordering more on hummus than on falafel. However, they were delicious, and they added a nice hit of protein to this sandwich to make it more satisfying to eat, and of course to add staying power. You could, of course, replace the bean patties with any patty-like interior that you like - keeping the Greek theme, ground lamb would be fantastic.
The Briam is also fairly soft, but retains enough texture to keep the pieces (mostly) in the bun, and so that you get at least some textural experience from the specific vegetables as you bite your way through the sandwich. This particular batch of Briam was a bit more eggplant-intensive than my usual, so the softness is an asset (leathery eggplant doesn't make good sandwiches, oddly enough). I highly recommend toasting the bun, not only for flavour, but to add much needed structure to the whole enterprise.
Because the patty was so soft that it practically became a spread on the bun, and because of the generous amount of olive oil already in the Briam, no other spreads or dressings were needed for this sandwich. I added some slices of feta to the bottom half, simply because I had it available, and the sharp, salty taste contrasted nicely with the mellow vegetables.
It's always good to make more Briam than you need; it keeps well for a few days, is delicious hot or cold, and can be pressed into service as a side dish, condiment, or sandwich filling/garnish at will. Next time I have some leftover, I'll definitely be thinking about this sandwich, and scheming to build an even better Gigantes patty, or perhaps a nice, crispy flat disc of falafel.