Sunday, May 19, 2013

Build a Better Burger

Who doesn't love a good, juicy burger right off the grill? While the traditional lettuce, tomato and onion are great toppers, I enjoy thinking outside of the box when it comes to building a delicious burger. This week at the store we put together a display in the produce department with lots of different fruits and vegetables that would go well on or inside a burger (think portobello mushroom, mango, avocado, fresh herbs). But why stop there? Try experimenting with different meats, cheeses, sauces and breads to make the burger your own.


Here is a list of options:

93% lean ground beef
93% lean ground turkey
Ground chicken
Ground pork
Portobello mushroom
Veggie - black bean, pizza, chickpea (there are several varieties that actually taste great!)

2% American
Sharp Cheddar
Gouda (my favorite is smoked gouda - so good)
Pepper Jack
Mozzarella (try using fresh)

Banana pepper
Caramelized onion
Green chiles (YUM)
Grilled red and green bell pepper
Grilled pineapple
Lettuce (all varieties)
Olives (all varieties)
Red onion
Roasted red pepper
Sautéed mushroom
Tomato (Sundried or fresh)

BBQ sauce
Garlic aioli (aka garlic mayo)
Light or regular mayo
Mustard (all varieties - I love grainy Dijon)
Olive tapenade (olives processed in a food processor or blender with olive oil)
Steak sauce
Truffle oil

Brioche bun
Ciabatta roll
Dark rye bread
Focaccia bread
Italian bread
Kaiser bun
Onion roll
Potato roll
Pretzel bun (my favorite)
Sourdough roll
Wheat bun

Here is a recipe I developed using several of these delicious ingredients:

Basil-Feta Burgers with Caramelized Onion and Avocado

Serves 4

Caramelized Onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, sliced thin
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Basil-Feta Burger
1/2 pound 93% lean ground beef
1 bunch basil, stemmed and chopped

3 oz. crumbled feta cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 avocado, peeled and sliced thin

4 whole wheat bakery buns, split

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and cook stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.

Add brown sugar, salt and pepper and cook 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

2. Meanwhile, combine beef, basil, feta, onion, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Form into four burger patties.

3. Preheat grill to medium-high. Place burger patties on the grill and cook 3-4 minutes per side, or until desired doneness.

4. Place burger patties on buns and top with sliced avocado and caramelized onion.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Chimichurri Sauce

Freshly made raw sauces (like salsa and chimichurri) are huge flavor boosters for grilled meats. Chimichurri is originally from Argentina and is made from finely chopped parsley, garlic, olive oil, oregano and white or red vinegar. During my catering internship, we cleaned out the cooler and used all herbs that were about to go bad to make a fresh chimichurri sauce and it brought their flavor to life. Try this recipe the next time you grill a steak - it is so fresh! 


Chimichurri Sauce

All you need:
1 bunch flat leaf parsley

4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon oregano leaves

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

¼ red onion, diced

All you do:

Place all chimichurri ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Adjust seasonings as needed; transfer to a bowl and set aside until ready to serve. 

Serving suggestion: Top grilled Angus sirloin! A perfect pairing :)