Fine Dine At Home
The pleasure of fine at-home dining - you craft the dishes, we provide fine wines matching your creations.
May 12, 2020
Recipe: The Perfect Hamburger
Le Parker Meridien Hotel on West 56th in Manhattan, NYC, is swanky, hardly the place you’d expect to find the world’s best burgers. It’s called ‘Burger Joint’. Despite the hotel’s attempt to hide this treasure behind a velvet curtain to the left off the luxurious foyer, it's found each day by a remarkable number of people.
The first time we went, on the advice of a review, we were turned away. "We've had an oven fire," said the concierge. "The burgers are extremely rare today, sir, I am afraid. Come back tomorrow.” So we and about 50 others did.
The burgers and fries are seductively raunchy in looks and perfectly sublime in flavour. If I lived in Manhattan I’d be 22 stone because that’s where I’d be for lunch everyday. Well, either there or Luke’s Lobster.
Last time I checked, “The Works” burger would set you back US$11.94, fries US$4.82 and a glass of red wine US$6.66. When we were there, with the Australian dollar buying 1.11 US dollars, "The Works" was a snip at about Au$8.50 (US$9.50). Sigh!
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 kg minced beef
150 gms lard, finely chopped (optional)
100 gms smoked speck, finely chopped (optional)
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or mashed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ cup of breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
sprig of parsley, finely chopped
sprig of thyme, stripped
1 inch (3 cm) sprig of rosemary, stripped and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon ground hot paprika or chilli (optional)
Buttered hamburger rolls and salad base, including your cheese of choice
Optional: tomato or HP sauce
Pre-heat oven to 200C.
In a saucepan or skillet, sauté the onion in 30 grams of butter until soft and golden. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Add all other ingredients and mix well.
Prepare an oven tray lined with greaseproof paper.
Take a handful of the mixture and roll into a ball about 4 - 6 cms diameter and then flatten it a little, not too much, and place it on the greaseproof paper. Continue making burger patties until the mixture is used. You’ll get around 8-10, depending how big you make them.
Place tray of patties into the oven and cook for 35 minutes. Turn the patties and the tray once each after 20 minutes to ensure even cooking.
When cooked, leave to rest for five minutes in a warm place (top of stove) covered with aluminium foil).
Meanwhile, prepare your rolls and salad.
Place a hamburger on each half roll, top with your cheese of choice and sauce, if used, add generous salad and place the other half roll on top.
Serves up to 8
To achieve sublime flavour in a hamburger, use good ingredients. I choose tasty, lean steak such as rump and ask the butcher to mince it. I also use a little triple-smoked speck and a salted lard, both of which add to flavour and moisten the meat as it cooks. Many good delis carry these products. You could get by with regular mince and drop the speck and lard but the hamburgers won't taste as good.
Breadcrumbs lighten the patties and improve texture. Any breadcrumbs are better than no breadcrumbs but I make my own from leftover bread - sourdough is good.
Using roughly chopped fresh herbs rather than powdered ones adds freshness, flavour and texture. I change the herbs around. Fresh sage is also good. A little grated lemon zest will add acid and zing, if you're in the mood. Play around a bit.
Use really good cheese; Parmigiano-Reggiano or Gruyère are hard to beat. If you prefer your cheese melted then pop the bottom half rolls with the patties and cheese on them under a grill, cheese up, for a couple of minutes.
Mayonnaise made using a fresh egg yolk, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and seasoning leaves most purchased product for dead.
And always I use a really good sea salt. Gros Sel du Guérand is my favourite but Australian salts such as Maldon are excellent too. We're talking perfect burgers here. Don't stint.
2017 Whiskey Gully Wines Piazza Red (Shiraz, Malbec) ($26)
A great match for a juicy burger... Cheerful and aromatic, lifted spice and a hint of cut flowers. The palate is fresh, light and juicy. We think of this as a verandah wine; lovely with a burger but perfect all by itself in good company.
The Burger Joint product - photo by Bloomberg Business Week
Cluttered and with designer graffiti on the walls, compact benches and vinyl seating, Burger Joint looks and feels like a shack, a crowded one. It's wonderful. Photo by Burger Joint
Union Square Market, New York City, is a great place to shop