Chef Sean Sigmon knows how to pack a wallop between two pieces of bread. He grew up in his parents' North Carolina barbecue joints, after all. Though he's dedicated himself to vegan cooking for the past 20 years, he's never forgotten those early lessons in layering flavor. Case in point: the Middle Eastern-inspired veggie burger he created specially for Eater's Burger Week.
In Sigmon's view, every component of a burger is an opportunity to take things to the next level, from the bun to the condiments, and everything in between.
For his Eater Burger, he created a firm yet pillowy bun that gets depth and a touch of sweetness from molasses. The ketchup, which he also makes in house, offers a piquant but earthy accent thanks to pickled butternut squash, onion and garlic. And the cruciferous slaw of kale, cabbage and red onion gets coated in a rich miso aioli.
As for the patty itself, he starts by making a vegetable pate, of sorts, that uses chickpea flour, whole chickpeas, butternut squash, roasted garlic, grilled lemon, and a fat dose of zaatar spice blend. After baking, he'll slice off "patties" that he'll sear in a pan to caramelize the crust.
To build the burger, he spreads the bun with mustard-green aioli made with almond milk and grapeseed oil. Then he adds the patty and gives it a generous smear of that pickled squash ketchup. On goes a slice of grilled lemon, a big pinch of zaatar, then a pile of the miso-spiked slaw. On the side he serves up chunky wedges of grilled sweet potatoes with more of that miso aioli for dipping. His dish is big, it's bold, and it's plant-based cooking for the non-spa-food crowd. Available this week only, you better get it while you can.