Valencia Pork Burgers with Orange, Fennel & Olive Slaw and Saffron Aioli
2 lbs. ground pork
1/3 cup grated Spanish onion
3 teaspoons minced garlic
4 teaspoons Spanish paprika
1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon hot water
¾ cup good-quality mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Orange, Fennel & Olive Slaw:
3 Valencia or Navel oranges
1 medium bulb fennel, tops removed
1 teaspoon fennel fronds, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped Spanish green olives stuffed with pimento
1 teaspoon Spanish sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons Spanish extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Vegetable oil for brushing the grill
6 slices Manchego cheese
6 brioche rolls, split
Prepare a medium-hot fire on a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
To make the patties, combine the pork, onion, garlic, paprika, thyme, coriander, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Form into 6 patties, being careful not to overwork the meat. Make a slight indentation in the center of the patties so that they will cook evenly. Cover and refrigerate.
To make the saffron aioli, place the saffron and hot water in a small bowl and set aside for at least 20 minutes. Transfer the saffron and liquid to a blender or food processor and add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, zest, garlic, and salt. Blend until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To make the orange, fennel, and olive slaw, first juice one of the oranges into a medium bowl, to make 3 tablespoons of juice. Set aside. Next, supreme the remaining 2 oranges. Start by cutting the tops and bottoms off the oranges, then slice off the skin, following the curve of the fruit. Slice out each of the orange segments and place them in a medium bowl. Thinly slice the fennel bulb into rings using a mandoline set on the thinnest setting or a knife. Place the fennel rings in the bowl with the orange segments. Add the fennel fronds, parsley, and olives. Whisk the sherry vinegar together with the reserved orange juice. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt. Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate.
Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the burger patties on the rack, cover, and cook 4-6 minutes on each side until cooked through. Place a slice of cheese on each patty during the last 3 minutes of grilling. Place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling.
To assemble the burgers, spread some saffron aioli on the cut sides of the top buns. Place a cheese-topped patty on each bun bottom and top with a mound of orange, fennel, and olive slaw. Add bun tops and serve.
This recipe makes 6 burgers.