Buffalo Burgers with Pepita Pesto
This recipe is from my new cookbook, Cilantro Secrets, published in June, 2006 by Rio Nuevo. For this version, I've added some jalapeno for an extra kick. Buffalo meat is very lean, and it benefits from the rich flavor of this pumpkin seed (pepita) pesto. You can use any leftover pesto on black beans or nachos, or tossed with pasta. And yes, you can use store-bought pesto if you must.
- 1 1/2 pounds ground buffalo meat
- 1/4 cup Pepita Pesto (recipe follows)
- 4 hearty rolls, split
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Lettuce leaves
- Tomato slices
- Avocado slices
- Thinly-sliced onion
For the Pesto:
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (without shells)
- 2 cups coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
- 2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large bowl, combine the meat and pesto and gently form the mixture into 4 patties. Grill the burgers over high heat until they reach the desired level of doneness. Brush the rolls with the olive oil and toast them on the grill until golden. Serve the burgers garnished with lettuce, tomato, avocado and onion.
For the Pesto:
In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, toast the pumpkin seeds until most of them are puffed. Remove them from the heat and allow them to cool.
In a blender or food processor, process the cilantro, jalapenos, garlic, toasted pumpkin seeds, and Parmesan. Add the olive oil in a thin stream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to a week