Finally, you can make a Superiority Burger at home

 
By Joe Yonan
The Washington Post
Posted7/4/2018 6:00 AM
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  • Superiority Burgers are its own thing. It's not fake meat, nor is it trying to be says Brooks Headley, the creative chef behind "Superiority Burger Cookbook: The Vegetarian Hamburger Is Now Delicious," (W.W. Norton, June 2018).

    Superiority Burgers are its own thing. It's not fake meat, nor is it trying to be says Brooks Headley, the creative chef behind "Superiority Burger Cookbook: The Vegetarian Hamburger Is Now Delicious," (W.W. Norton, June 2018). Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post

The first time I tried the title item at Brooks Headley's little New York sensation of a restaurant, Superiority Burger, I thought: What's the big deal? It tasted really good, but it certainly didn't remind me of a beef burger, not in the way that the lab-concocted Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger do. And it was so small it was more like a slider than a burger.

Then I got an advance copy of Headley's upcoming cookbook, called "Superiority Burger Cookbook" (Why mess with a good thing?), and read the headnote to the first recipe: "This is not fake meat, nor is it vying to be," Headley writes, and then he follows that with one of my favorite lines in a cookbook in recent memory: "The unlikeness to the real thing is canny."

All of a sudden, the appeal of his burger started to make so much more sense, and I couldn't wait to try the recipe.

Headley doesn't sweat some of the details -- such as the oil needed for sauteing an onion or the amounts of salt and pepper. But his recipe includes brilliant flavor-building strokes, including long roasting of diced carrot, a heavy hand with toasted fennel seed, a little vinegar for deglazing crispy bits from the pan, and more. The burgers keep a nice chunky texture from crushed walnuts, hand-mashed chickpeas and more quinoa than I would have expected. And they hold together, thanks to his use of a slurry made from potato starch and water, folded in as a binder.

Will I swing by Superiority Burger on future trips to New York? Probably. But thanks to Headley's recipe, I don't have to. Besides, the burgers I made from his book beat the ones he sells at his restaurant in one very satisfying way: They're a lot bigger.

• Joe Yonan is the Food and Dining editor of The Washington Post and the author of "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook."

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