WARMINSTER, PA (Sept. 16, 2016) — As veggie burgers move to center stage in restaurants throughout the nation, home gardeners are finding their own version with a new eggplant specially bred to serve as a meat substitute without any of the negative traits often associated with the variety.
According to George Ball, chairman and CEO of W. Atlee Burpee Company, the home gardening company’s new ‘Meatball’ eggplant has recorded skyrocketing sales compared to any eggplant in the company’s 140 year history and has sold out for the 2016 home gardening season.
Burpee, based in Bucks County, PA, compiled a panel of amateur and professional chefs to develop recipes using the ‘Meatball’ eggplant as the main ingredient for a veggie burger. In the past, according to Mr. Ball, home gardeners scurried about using vegetable varieties that were far from adequate for a truly superior veggie burger.
All this has changed with ‘Meatball’, Mr. Ball says, and just about any home cook can now rival all the highly acclaimed versions served at top restaurants.
“After decades as an amateur player eager for a big break”, states a recent article titled, The Veggie Burger’s Ascent, in a major New York daily newspaper (The New York Times, 8/30/2016), “the veggie burger has made its ascent, becoming a destination dish and hashtag darling as never before.”
The newest generation of veggie burgers has moved from the edges of the menu, the article claims, to its center, a dish to offer not just for the sake of meat-avoiding customers, but to make memorable in its own right. To do that, they are turning to a vast arsenal of ingredients and techniques to get the flavor, texture and heft they’re seeking.
Highly acclaimed chef, April Bloomfield, whose restaurant, Spotted Pig, in New York remains one of the city’s top attractions, uses sweet-potato noodles, lentils and garam masala in her version of a veggie burger inspired by Korean blood sausage, while chef, Daniel Humm, whose Manhattan restaurant, Eleven Madison Park, has received three Michelin stars, chooses grains such as quinoa and fresh vegetables held together with eggs, cream cheese and Dijon mustard, for the near-by No Mad Bar.
Unfortunately, many of the ingredients used by professional chefs in pursuit of the perfect veggie burger in their restaurant are not readily available for home cooks, says Mr. Ball. For this reason, he adds, growing a ‘Meatball’ eggplant is the perfect solution for home gardeners seeking to create a truly superior veggie burger.
“I sampled more than 23 veggie burgers from some of the top chefs and food writers in America, Mr. Ball claims, “and none of them has the flavor and consistency of a Burpee Burger made from ‘Meatball’ eggplant. Simply stated, it’s the best.” The recipe for a veggie burger using ‘Meatball’ eggplant can be found on the Burpee website, www.burpee.com.