Summer’s best burger

Given the economy, we were looking to stretch our dollar a little bit so we bought some hamburger and split it up into smaller freezer bags. I get real bored with ordinary hamburgers so I decided to put a little flair into this one.

Former colleague Mike Taylor and I used to trade cooking ideas, and his was to put chopped onions in his burger. I took it a little further. This burger is the best I’ve ever had; moist and succulent, with both heavy and mild flavors that seem to balance each other.

A pound or two of ground beef.
Equal amounts of diced onions and jalapenos from a jar. About a half cup each or to taste.
A finely chopped head of fresh raw garlic.
One egg.
About a cup of crushed salad croutons.
¼ cup of teriyaki sauce. I used Soy Vay’s Very Very Teriyaki that I found at Costco. Good stuff.

Combine all this stuff in a mixing bowl. Add some sea salt and fresh ground pepper. I used a wooden spoon to mix fully. The egg and croutons help bind it together and extend the hamburger. I don’t like slimy hands so when I form the patties, I wear throwaway plastic kitchen gloves. I make my patties fairly thin and wide to avoid the round, high hamburger syndrome.

Heat up a skillet (not a grill because they’ll fall apart if stressed) with light olive oil, then reduce the heat to simmer. After you put the burgers on, top them with some fresh rosemary or tarragon. Reduce some white wine in the sauce. Cook them slowly under a cover. This is key as you don’t want a hard brown crust, just a little. Flip them when thoroughly cooked and add your favorite cheese. Cover again to melt it. Don’t worry about the rosemary; it’ll flip over with the burger and add flavor.

You’re done. Put it on a quality bun and serve. Garnish with a little sprig of rosemary. You might want to try it before adding condiments. You’ll be surprised. Fresh raw spinach and tomatoes make a nice side dish. Messiness factor: High. It’s so juicy that the bun will likely be soaked through.

You would think that those jalapenos and garlic would make this burger smoking hot, but it’s not. The meat and cooking mellows them out, and they go well with rosemary. Fresh jalapenos would probably increase the heat factor. You can also substitute chili powder for jalapenos, though it loses something.

Enjoy the compliments; you’ll be the summer’s the most popular chef.
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