The perfect burger

No kidding, no hyperbole. This is truly it. Sometimes inspiration hits, sometimes it’s just sheer luck. But regardless of how, it has happened.

Like the perfect sandwich, this requires some effort, so get ready for three recipes. You will need to start a day in advance.

Part 1: Sliced pickled beets

Peel fresh beets, and slice thick. Pack them as hard as you can into a jar, alternating with layers of raw onion. Fill the jar with apple cider vinegar, adding a few shakes of dill, and bit of sugar, if the vinegar is super strong. Do not add salt.

Cover these and let them sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

Part 2: Walnut babaghanoush

Poke one large globe eggplant all over with a knife, and put it a baking dish in a 350 degree oven, turning it over every 15 minutes or so to keep the bottom from burning.

Bake the eggplant until the whole thing looks like a deflated balloon. This may take as long as 45 minutes. Put aside to cool.

Loosely chop one large onion, and one cup of walnuts. Fry on low-medium heat in olive oil until the onions start to carmelize. Take your time, we want the sweetness from the browned onions. Add about 1 tablespoon each of garlic powder and oregano, and the juice of one fresh lemon. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, use your fingers to peel the skin off (don’t throw away any of the eggplant that sticks to the skin, that’s the best part!), and toss it in with the walnut onion mix. Get out your trusty stick mixer and grind the whole thing into a rough paste. Add salt to taste (I like to use less salt, and add more lemon juice if needed), and refrigerate overnight.

(extra points if the jar is already labeled sliced beets)

3: The burger… itself!

1/2 80% lean/20% fat ground beef
1/2 Ground lamb
Salt lightly, mix together, and shape into patties, making sure to indent the center with your thumb. Separate with wax paper and refrigerate.

4. Yo’ buns

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For the love of God, get good buns. We used a nice soft brioche, which we toasted. Harder bread might also work, but honestly I wouldn’t chance it. Get the brioche.

5. Burger time, assemble!
Grill the burgers, preferably outdoors with a nice smoke. We made ours indoors, which also worked well, but remember that lamb is going to make a lot of grease.

IMG_4735

Toast your buns, and serve the each burger fully assembled: patty, babaghanoush, pickled beets, and nothing else.

The meaty combination of beef and lamb, the rich smoky taste of the babaghanoush and the refreshing sourness of the crunchy beets is – wow.

Dinner conversation is usually pretty lively. Today we said nothing. We just ate. After Misa had her second burger, she looked at me quite seriously and said, “put this on your blog.”

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