Essential Tofu Burgers with Easy Quick Pickles

tofu burger final

This week I shared a new recipe for tofu burgers on Food52. Back when I wrote Veggie Burgers Every Which Way I wasn’t as enthusiastic about tofu as I am now, now that I’ve spent a lot more time enjoying it on its own and in the myriad of delicious ways that it appears in dishes across many Asian cuisines. So I revisited the tofu burger with the intent of making the tofu shine, and incorporated a few great tricks like grating it for a lighter, less tacky texture. Head over to Food52 for the write-up and the recipe, as well as for photos by the excellent Spencer Starnes.

And after the jump, my easiest and favorite way to quick-pickle onions and cucumbers, which will be a welcome accompaniment to all of your Memorial Day ‘que spreads this weekend and through the summer. Can’t believe it’s here already…

grating tofushaped patties

Quick-Pickled Red Onions or Cucumbers

Makes about a heaping half-cup, excellent with Essential Tofu Burgers

This method works for radishes, fennel, carrots, baby turnips, baby beets, julienned chard stems… basically any crunchy vegetable that you can slice thinly. Taste as you go to get the seasoning right.

1 small-to-medium red onion, peeled but left whole
3 small Persian cucumbers
About 1/4 teaspoon salt
Two pinches sugar
Brown rice vinegar or rice vinegar

Using a mandoline, or a sharp knife if you don’t have one, slice the onion or cucumbers into thin rings: not quite paper-thin, but close, about 2 millimeters. (This is a matter of preference; if you like thicker pickles, feel free to slice them more thickly). Place in a small bowl and use your hands to mix with the salt and sugar. Taste as you go, adding a few pinches more salt if necessary. They’re best when well seasoned. Let stand for 15-20 minutes, until glistening and some liquid begins to collect in the bottom of the bowl, and when you taste them they’re seasoned all the way through. Give the vegetables a gentle squeeze and pour off the extracted liquid, then sprinkle with a few teaspoons of the vinegar, again tasting as you go until it’s got a nice tang. These will only keep for a day or two, so plan to make them on the same day you serve them.

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