April 18, 2010
Remember last week’s guest posts from Jessie about baking bread? And remember when I told you that half of my batch of challah found its destiny in the form of some tasty, tasty hamburger buns?
Now I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life, but there are few better ways to enjoy the changing season than home-cooked burgers and fries. Burgers and fries, burgers and fries. Have two things ever gone so well together? Even their names have a kind of lulling rhythmic rightness: burgers and fries, burgers and fries.
There are approximately three zillion recipes out there for “the perfect burger,” “the diet burger,” “the California burger,” “the ultimate burger,” etc. I’m not claiming this burger is any of the above, but it did make for a very satisfying Saturday night dinner.
BURGERS & FRIES
I will also say that I believe the quality of the ground beef I used had everything to do with how good these burgers tasted. Jill and I purchase a meat share from a local farm here in Texas, and not only do we feel ethically good about supporting a small operation with well-treated animals, the meat just plain tastes better. Like, light-years better.
And so if you haven’t, I urge you to check into and support small farms in your area. You can search here or stop by your local Farmers Market.
for the burgers:
2 lb. ground beef
1 red onion
1 cup cheese of your choice (we used double Gloucester)
½ cup flat-leaf parsley
juice from half a lemon
salt & pepper (more of the latter than the former)
Peel & dice the onion, then sauté in a little olive oil until soft & translucent. Set the onion aside to cool and in the meantime, grate the cheese & chop the parsley.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well with your fingers. Form into patties of your desired size, keeping in mind that burgers shrink significantly when cooked. I usually make my patties very round & tall so that they’ll even out by the time they arrive on a bun.
Grill outside or indoors on a grill pan/stovetop grill. (You can also refrigerate pre-made patties ahead of time or flash-freeze on a cookie sheet first, transferring them to a freezer bag for future use.)
For an especially tasty burger, brush your buns with a little melted butter & add them to the grill for the last few minutes of cooking. Garnish burgers with desired condiments: grilled onion, avocado, tomato, lettuce, pickle, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, etc.
for the fries (adapted from Gourmet):
2 lb. sweet potatoes
1 tsp. whole coriander
½ tsp. fennel seeds
½ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
Cut the sweet potatoes into wedges—peeling them is not necessary. Grind the spices together with a mortar & pestle or spice grinder (the latter will, of course, result in a much finer grind). Place the potatoes in a large roasting pan; use two if need be, you don’t want to crowd the slices because they won’t crisp up.
Toss the potatoes with a few tablespoons of oil to coat, then add the spices, distributing evenly. Roast for 40-45 minutes, turning the wedges halfway through and rotating the pans if you used two.
Sprinkle generously with salt before serving. They are delicious plain, with ketchup, Sriacha, or this tamarind chutney.