San Juan Burger with Caramelized Plantains and Toasted Coconut Butter
Toasted Coconut Butter:
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 sticks salted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large black (ripe) plantain, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices on a diagonal
2 pounds ground chuck
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 pieces Cuban bread, cut into bun-sized pieces
3 ounces baby spinach leaves
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
In order to make the toasted coconut butter, add the coconut to a large fireproof non-stick skillet and cook on the grill over high heat, stirring occasionally, until toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Place the toasted coconut in the bowl of a food processor and process for about two seconds. Combine the toasted coconut and butter in a small bowl.
In order to make the caramelized plantains, add the oil and sugar to a large fireproof non-stick skillet and cook on the grill over medium-high heat. Add the plantains and cook on each side for about 2 minutes. Transfer the plantains to a paper towel to drain.
In order to make the patties, combine the beef, green onions, cumin, garlic, mint, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and flatten into 6 disks. Place a tablespoon of the Toasted Coconut Butter in the center of each disk, then bring up the meat to enclose the butter. Form into six patties to fit the buns.
Brush the grill rack with oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, just until done, about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.
In order to assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of Toasted Coconut Butter on the cut sides of the buns. On each bun bottom, place some baby spinach leaves, a patty, and 2-3 slices of caramelized plantains. Add the bun tops and serve.
Makes 6 burgers.