In A Burger to Believe In, Chris Kronner shares his insight on how to make the best burger at home, plus creative side dishes and accompaniments.
The dish is inspired by Vietnamese flavors, and the dressing is a version of nuoc cham, a sour-sweet-savory dipping sauce. As with most food items (hamburgers, toast, sushi, pancakes), you can turn it into California cuisine just by adding an avocado. Plan for one avocado per person if the fruit are small, and half an avocado if they are large.
If you don’t have the time or desire to make all the components from scratch, this is a salad that lends itself well to shortcuts, as chile oil and puffed rice (unsweetened) are readily available in most markets.
A note on serving: At the restaurant, we put two avocado halves per plate, allowing two diners to share as an appetizer. For a group, you might want to do one big family-style platter. At home, it might be easier to put the avocado at the bottom of individual bowls and then layer the rest of the ingredients over them.
- Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread the brown rice on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour and then turn off the oven, and leave the rice in the oven for about 12 hours. The goal is to dry out the rice as best you can.
- Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 400°F. If the oil is not hot enough, the rice will not puff, instead leaving you with what will taste like burned glass. When the oil is hot, fry the rice in two batches, until puffed, about 15 seconds. Using a spider skimmer or other small strainer, remove the rice from the oil and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
- Lightly dust the shallots with the cornstarch in a bowl and shake off any excess. Using the same oil and pot, reheat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 350°F. When the oil is hot, fry the shallots until they pop (be careful!), 20 to 30 seconds. Using a spider skimmer or other small strainer, remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
- Stir together the chile oil and pomegranate molasses in a small bowl or cup. Set aside.
- Juice two of the limes into a small bowl. Cut the remaining lime in half and set aside.
- In a large salad bowl, stir together the fish sauce and 2 tablespoons of the lime juice. Add the crispy rice and stir to evenly coat. Add the fried shallots, coconut flakes, and cilantro and toss together. Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional lime juice.
- Slice the avocados in half. Remove the pits and, using a spoon, remove each avocado half from its skin. Put the avocados on your serving vessels of choice.
- Sprinkle the avocados with salt and an additional squirt of lime juice. Spoon the rice mixture over the avocado. Dress with the chile oil mixture, and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and ginger. Add more lime juice, if desired. Eat immediately.
Reprinted from A Burger to Believe In. Copyright © 2018 by Chris Kronner. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Eric Wolfinger. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.