Just one out-of-the-ordinary element can make for an extraordinary burger.
Mix-and-match suggestions in this week’s food section should see us through what’s left of summer and beyond. I’ll add a few more of my own.
On the topic of quick pickling, try marinating sliced tomatoes in balsamic vinegar 30 minutes before assembling your burger. This trick recently convinced my husband that I’d compiled the “best sandwich ever” for his lunch. If the tomatoes alone are that good, consider stacking them with fresh mozzarella and basil leaves, or a smear of pesto, for Caprese salad on a burger.
Burger fans likely can agree that blue cheese and mushroom-Swiss patties are fairly standard fare by now. But stuffing the patty with cheese is a move that many home cooks overlook. It’s an ideal technique for softer cheeses that otherwise would ooze all over.
I impressed some guests this weekend by encasing a bit of goat cheese in ground lamb. Just remember to get the ratio right. A one-third-pound patty needs less than an ounce of cheese to keep the combination from becoming messy.
Bacon on burgers, as this week’s story acknowledged, is old hat. Wrapping a patty in prosciutto, however, imparts all of bacon’s saltiness and savor in a streamlined process and presentation. There’s no need to cook such a thin slice of cured pork in advance. Indeed, it adheres to the burger and ideally creates a crunchy coating around it, particularly if seared in a cast-iron pan or on a griddle.
Regarding sauces, don’t be afraid of something sweet in lieu of ketchup. Fig jam provides the perfect contrast to the prosciutto and goat cheese recommended above. The trio constitute one of my all-time favorite burgers, detailed in a 2009 post. I said it then, and I’ll say it again: Just trust me on this one.
And I’m taking the Chicago Tribune’s word that marrownaise is the next Sriracha mayonnaise. I suspect I’ll need extra to accommodate dipping fries.
Until I can source some beef marrow, this compound butter likely would wow my husband, who never met a mustard he didn’t like. It’s also courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.
Grilled Burgers With Mustard Butter
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for grilling. Divide 1 pound ground beef into 4 equal portions. Gently shape each portion into a patty. Season with salt and pepper.
Beat 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted, softened butter until creamy; blend in 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and 4 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped.
Grill patties, for 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium. Place patties on bottoms of toasted buns. Top each burger with a dollop of mustard butter while still hot, then the bun top.
Makes 4 servings.