Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Deconstructed Classic: Burger with grilled onions

My wife likes burgers and fries. I think most women do.

"Even the ones that say they're icky?"

Especially the one that think they are icky. Closet eaters, every last one of them. They down half a cosmo' and they're calling to the barman for those sliders! Side of sweet potato fries please.

I think they're great, if done well. That probably goes for most things, but the burger is a long time victim of abuse. Neglect is the worst kind of abuse. Our burger meat has been put out to pasture. Actually, it hasn't been put out to pasture and that's the problem.

There are certain large institutions that have their focus set on real estate more than feeding people. They'll give you stuff to eat, but they aren't feeding you. That's because the little bit of meat that ends up in the patty is taken from parts that you couldn't find at the market. The rest is fillers. "All beef" just means the meat part came from a cow, that's it. The cow itself hasn't even been eating the stuff it was meant to eat: grass.

The reason I say this is that I was on my way home from the gym and I thought about a hamburger. I used to work out, then do one of two things: go to Little Caesar's and get a $5 Hot and Ready pepperoni pizza and the market for one of those big Foster's, or go to The Burger Place and get a Patty Melt Burger no mayo and a maltball malt washed down with a dark lager. Life was great!

Nowadays, it takes a little more care to bulk up properly, so I didn't do either of those things. I made this for my wife and I:

This is a lesson in presentation. My lettuce is cut into square, then arranged. Grilling onions is as much about appearance as it is about taste. Those black edges are crucial for my wife. I can make them any shade of brown for my patty melts, translucent for soups and dips, but the black edges need to be there for this burger. You throw the patty on top. Tomatoes should always be to the side. You can not like them at all, love them a lot, or be somewhere in the middle. That's just one choice I don't like to presume.

The sweet potato "roasts" can be very crispy if you want to give them air while in the oven or cover them if you like them soft. There is yellow and gray squash, also roasted in the corner (gray is Korean).

Altogether it was very satisfying and no one missed the bun. No one missed the terrible, low quality oil either, but one wouldn't, would they?

This takes a cast iron skillet and and oven or toaster oven. Heat both of these things immediately upon entering the kitchen (see: Put the fire on).

Cut the ends off of two medium garnet yams (sweet potatoes), then cut the sides off lengthwise (like you rip wood before you cut it). Lay the yam on its side (the flat one, see?) and cut lengthwise so you have 4 to 5 planks. You might end up getting good enough to get a plank of skin you can toss. Rip those planks into 3 to 5 fry shaped pieces. Put those on foil on a pan for the oven.

Slice your squashes across the grain at an angle, whatever you can bear. The girl(s) you're cooking for probably know you're not Bobby Flay, you'll be fine. Put these on foil an a pan for the oven as well. Drizzle all that stuff that's on foil on pans with olive oil and put it in the oven. Crispy things are not covered and not crispy things are covered. Use more foil, not newspaper.

Slice two onions and throw them into a very hot skillet with a little olive oil. You need the entire round of the rings to be touching the heat, so maybe don't throw them in, place them evenly throughout.

Always buy grass fed beef, always buy it in one pound packs. Take one of those one pound packs and split in in four heaps. pound out four burger shaped patties. This is not the time to be stuffing with ingredients, not tonight.

Now add more olive oil to your onions and flip them. They will be slightly shrunken and blackened on one side. Also, they will fall apart. These are good things.

Get some garlic paste and Worcester sauce out of the fridge. Move the onions over to the side. Place two patties on the pan and put a teaspoon of garlic paste on each, followed by Worcester. The mixture and exposed meat will look bloody, that means it's time to flip. Stir the onions a little when you do. Repeat the garlic and Worcester thing, turn the heat off and cover your skillet.

Two plates, place your lettuce squares (I said that earlier, do I have to walk you through everything?) and cut some tomatoe slices. Mine are little and from the garden so it was easier. Pull all the oven stuff out and spoon the squash on the plate (corner is good). Get two paper towels and dump the sweet potatoes on it. Roll it like this:

Then put it on the plate. Uncover beautiful onions and place them on the lettuce and place the patty on top. Serve with a honey mustard dressing (1/4 c mustard, tblsp ea Apple cider vinegar and agave nectar).

There are some nice gluten free beers and red wines that would go great with this too. You can handle that.

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