Smithtown Seafood serving entry for James Beard Blended Burger Project

Smithtown Seafood, 501 West Sixth Street, Lexington, is participating in the James Beard Foundation Blended Burger Project this summer. The project, in its second year, is a nationwide challenge and contest to create a “better burger” by blending ground meat with mushrooms. The addition of mushrooms cuts calories, adds flavor and creates a more sustainable burger.

For the 2016 contest, Smithtown chef Jonathan Sanning created The Tapper Burger, a quarter-pound blended burger with Kentucky Proud beef and mushrooms, topped with fried oysters, Bourbon Bacon Jam, banana pepper mustard and roasted garlic aioli.

Last year’s entry, The Beef Well-ington burger, was so popular that Sanning kept it on the regular menu.

“Blending a burger with mushrooms can benefit our health and our food systems,” Sanning said. “Smithtown partners with our neighbor FoodChain because we believe in promoting sustainable food systems, so entering the Better Burger contest is a delicious way to demonstrate that goal.”

Through July 31, diners vote for their favorite burgers by going to www.jamesbeard.org/blendedburgerproject/vote. Diners also can post a photo of a burger to Instagram with the hashtag #betterburgerproject and the restaurant’s handle. The five chefs with the most votes win a trip to New York City for the annual James Beard Foundation Food Conference in October.

For more information about the Blended Burger Project, please go to www.jamesbeard.org/blendedburgerproject.