food52’s Shrimp Burgers with Roasted Garlic-Orange Aioli

food52 (which, if you haven’t checked out yet, you really must) recently held a contest titled Your Best Use of Aioli. The winning entry was this recipe for Shrimp Burgers with Roasted Garlic-Orange Aioli, in which the aioli is used to bind the shrimp burgers and as a spread on the bun. I love shrimp, as does The Professor, so I had to try it.

While The Professor peeled and cleaned the shrimp, I made the aioli, beating the egg yolks continuously and oh-so-slowly pouring in the oil. Making aioli from scratch is certainly an arm work-out, though it’s not  as tricky as I thought it would be.

Then I started slicing and dicing. First the red pepper, then the shallots, the fennel, the fennel fronds, and the chives. The Professor had long since finished his cleaning job and headed up to his office to finish some reading when, finally, I I chopped the shrimp.

He returned while I was forming the burger patties, saying, “These burgers sure aren’t fast, huh?”

“Well a recipe always takes longer the first time you try it,” I countered. But he was right.

The end result was perfectly tasty — the flavor was subtle but recognizably shrimp-y, with hints of licorice and orange that upped the interesting-factor. But the burgers weren’t so mouthwateringly delicious that they justified the effort or the cost. (I’d used wild pink shrimp from Key West that sells for $15 a pound).

The Professor also suggested that the brioche buns I’d served the burgers with might be getting in the way of the subtle flavors. “These might be tastier served more like crab cakes,” he suggested.

The Professor gave them a B, saying he’d be happy to have the shrimp burgers — or cakes — now and again. And I guess I’m glad he didn’t ask me to make them again next week!

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