One of the complaints I've previously had about turkey burgers was that they were bland. It was as though it were a given characteristic in my head: turkey burger = bland. I've used turkey in everything else (chili, cutlets, breast, sloppy joes, spaghetti, Spanish rice and lasagna), but not in burgers. Well, not until today, that is.
My low opinion of turkey as a burger base probably stems from my first-ever exposure to turkey burgers. Kathy, one of my roommates my senior year of college, was helping her boyfriend, Craig, adapt to a bland diet. I was present for the debut of her turkey burger, which featured dill almost exclusively as a seasoning. (If I'm recalling correctly, he had to avoid anything spicy, even pepper, and couldn't eat beef. It wasn't awful, but I did have to resort to decorating the burger with huge amounts of ketchup, which is what I do to regular hamburgers.
Since that time, I've tried turkey burgers in restaurants and have found extensive ketchup to be a necessary evil, although it's garnered me some weird looks. (Apparently, turkey burgers are usually served in restaurants with a honey mustard or other mustard-based sauce, not ketchup.)
Then I started to watch Rachael Ray and had hopes that perhaps turkey burgers didn't have to be bland. Oddly enough, my first foray into an all white meat turkey burger was not one of her recipes. It was one clipped from the newspaper, which readers liked enough to ask the columnist to reconfigure it so it could be served as a meatloaf. So it sounded promising.
Again, it was a little bland, despite my having thrown in more pepper and oregano than the recipe called for and using egg as a binder rather than applesauce (it would not have held together otherwise).
The result? It didn't require ketchup, so it was better than average; however, I felt driven to invent a mustard/horseradish/yogurt "cream" sauce for it. And I'm not sure I can replicate as I didn't follow my usual rule of writing down — or even measuring — its ingredients. Oops.
But it did give me some lovely ideas for experimentation. (Mom and I discussed the possibilities of cilantro in addition to the spinach in it and yogurt sauce with dill, onions and cucumber, somewhat similar to the sauce used in Olga's Kitchen.)
As I can be rather stubborn once an idea takes hold of me, you probably haven't heard the last of my search for the perfect turkey burger.