What's for dinner: Fritas with Cuban Avocado Salsa and Tomato Sofrito


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Fritas with Cuban Avocado Salsa and Tomato Sofrito

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These seasoned mini-burgers, called fritas, are sold as street food in Cuba. Typically served with fried shoestring potatoes on top, they‘‍re eaten on the go, in public.

British chef Paul Gayler gives the sliders sweeter treatment here with avocado-pineapple salsa and sofrito, a cooked tomato sauce. He recommends serving them, two per person, with spicy plantain chips.    

For burgers

4½ ounces fresh white breadcrumbs

3½ ounces milk

21 ounces well-trimmed, coarsely minced beef

7 ounces minced pork

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

2 teaspoons tomato ketchup

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Pinch paprika

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil for cooking

8 small burger buns, split

Shredded iceberg lettuce

For salsa

1 avocado, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

1/2 cup cubed fresh pineapple

1 small chopped red onion

Juice 2 limes

2 ounces olive oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

For tomato sofrito

1 ounce olive oil

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried cumin

2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce

15 ounce can plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Make breadcrumbs: Soak breadcrumbs in milk for 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. In a bowl gently combine both meats with the breadcrumbs. Add remaining ingredients (except buns and lettuce), mix well together but do not overwork. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour.

Make salsa: Place ingredients in a bowl, toss gently and set aside to allow flavors to meld.

Make sofrito: Heat olive oil in pan. Add onion, garlic and oregano and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes until softened. Add cumin, hot pepper sauce and cook for another 2 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and tomato paste and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until all the juices have evaporated and sofrito is thick. This will keep, covered, in the fridge for 2 weeks.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Make burgers: Divide meat mixture into 8 small, evenly sized burgers. Brush with oil. Grill burgers over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until desired doneness. While burgers are cooking, toast buns.

Top the base of each burger bun with shredded iceberg lettuce, followed by salsa. Top each with a burger, then spoon some hot tomato sofrito over. Top with the burger lid.

Makes 8 entree-sized fritas or 16 sliders.

-- “Burgers: From Barbecue Ranch Burger to Miso Salmon Burger” by Paul Gaylor (Castle Books, $14.95)  

For more July 4 burger recipes, check out Thursday’‍s Food & Flavor or go to www.post-gazette.com/food.


Gretchen McKay: gmckay@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1419 or on Twitter @gtmckay.

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