Burgers 3 Ways with Pigtale Twist Ridiculously Garlic Blue

*** There is nothing like burgers made with freshly ground meat whether it’s beef, turkey or even salmon! All 3 of these fresh, juicy burgers are finished the same way with piping hot, caramelized Bermuda onions & Pigtale Twist Ridiculously Garlic Blue Dressing.

For a new twist on H’orsdevores make all three & cut into quarter pie wedge shapes then top with pickle slices & decorative toothpicks or… edge one side of a beautiful platter with quartered burger wedges, the other side with an ice cold, and fresh salad for gorgeous & easy entertaining during these last, warm, breezy evenings of summer! And remember, these recipes may be prepared a day in advance so YOU too can enjoy your party!

#1 - Salmon Burgers

24 ounces of very fresh salmon steaks, all bones & skin removed. There should be NO fishy odor or sliminess to the flesh

1 large orange, zest & juice (remember to zest the orange before juicing)

1 bunch green scallions (8-10) finely sliced

1 medium portabella mushroom finely diced, sauté for 5-6 minutes in 3 TBS butter seasoned with salt & pepper

1 egg beaten

1 TBS Kosher salt, 2 TBS freshly cracked black pepper or to taste

Agave Syrup (available everywhere now)

Fresh bakery poppy seed buns (call the day before & ask to have them baked just before you arrive. A good baker will be glad to accommodate your wish).

***Makes 4 six ounce burgers

    Melt 3-4 TBS butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat until it just begins to foam and brown. Add diced mushrooms & increase the heat to high seasoning with salt & pepper. Sauté for 5-6 minutes then remove from the heat & reserve.

Cube the salmon & place cubes into your food processor, seasoning with a pinch of salt & pepper (remember the flavor of your food is dependent upon building layers of flavors and each layer must be seasoned). Using the pulse button, pulse just until the salmon resembles coarse hamburger meat. Do not over grind or allow the processor to run constantly without pulsing or you will have salmon paste. However, if you do make paste, simply mix with cream cheese, fresh dill & lemon juice and chill for the next nights H’orsdevores with crudités and unique, artisan crackers!

Transfer the salmon to a bowl and mix well with orange zest, juice, scallions, mushrooms, and the beaten egg. Divide the mixture into 4 nicely shaped patties. Place 2 patties on a plate, cover with a sheet of parchment paper (an absolute kitchen necessity) and stack the next 2 patties. Cover with plastic wrap & chill for up to a day in advance. Prepare your grill using only a clean grill with oiled grates. Just prior to grilling brush one side of each salmon burger with the Agave syrup and place the burgers syrup side down on the grill brushing the second side with Agave as well. Grill over a charcoal fire (preferably lit with paper and a chimney starter not lighter fluid) over direct heat for 6-7 minutes per side. Split, lightly butter & toast each bun. Place the salmon burger on a bun, heap with caramelized onions (recipe to follow) & drizzle 2-3 TBS of Ridiculously Garlic Blue over each Salmon burger stack. I like to tilt the top bun, leaning it against the side of the stack for brilliant visual effect & presentation.

***Also very nice served “bunless” with basil, celery & pea risotto steeped in Pinot Grigio & a salad of butter lettuce, avocado, pink grapefruit Supremes & poppy seeds tossed in a feather light Anisette, champagne vinegar, grapefruit vinaigrette OR...    make “Sliders” 3 ways for Sunday Bear’s Games as a clean break from wings!!!

#2 – Spicy Turkey Burgers

2 lbs freshly ground turkey ~ You could grind the turkey yourself as described above with the salmon. However the meat from the turkey breast alone is simply too dry for this application. The moister meat of the legs & thighs would need to be added requiring boning the thighs & legs. Too much of a chore! Ask your butcher to grind it using a coarse setting while you wait. It will only take him 5 minutes.

1 bunch super fresh cilantro, soaked in ice cold water, rinsed & drained (may be done the day before and stored in a vase of water in a delicate area of the fridge). Finely chop just before use.

1-2 bright yellow/orange jalapeño or Bonnet (Habanero) Pepper, very finely minced

1 large, thin skinned lime, rolled, zested & juiced

1 egg, beaten

1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple or mango

1 TBS Kosher salt & 2 tsp freshly cracked pepper

¼ cup good, fruity olive oil (herb or citrus infused oil would be fantastic)

Freshly baked potato, egg or brioche buns, split, buttered & toasted (the sweetness of this bread will have a wonderful contrast to the spice in your turkey burger while having a delicate texture matching the ground turkey)

***Makes 4 quarter pound burgers

Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl using your hands. While you must wash them often especially after handling raw meats & poultry, there are no better tools in the kitchen to be sure! Form the turkey into 4 burger patties. Place 2 burgers on a plate, cover with a sheet of parchment paper & stack remaining burgers. Cover with plastic wrap & chill up to a day ahead.

Brush one side of each burger liberally with excellent olive oil. Place oiled side down & oil the second side. Grill turkey burgers over the direct heat of a clean & well oiled grill for 5-6 minutes per side. I cannot stress enough the importance of using good charcoal in a starter chimney lit with paper as opposed to ever using a can of lighter fluid. In addition to being rather unhealthy, cooking delicate flavors such as turkey, fish & chicken over strong fuel oil fumes will overwhelm the amazing, fresh flavors you’ve strived for.

Place a burger on each bottom bun, top with gooey, caramelized onions & spoon 2-3 TBS of Ridiculously Garlic Blue over each mound. The spicy, fresh kick of the turkey burgers with the sweetness of the caramelized onions play perfectly off the creamy, cool, jaw-watering Garlic Blue dripping down the sides! Serve with lime mayo smothered corn on the cob & a festive array of grilled vegetables such as asparagus, radicchio & pineapple drizzled with balsamic reduction glaze OR kettle boiled BBQ potato chips!!!!

#3 – Sirloin Burgers

1.5 lbs sirloin steak (sirloin is the king of beef when it comes to smash mouth flavor. Tenderloin comes up tender but short on flavor. Chuck and round have flavor but tend to be quite chewy)

1 small Bermuda onion (purple), peeled & pureed in a processor or blender until no large pieces remain, then strained very well pressing the liquid out with the back of a spoon until only the pulp remains

1 egg well beaten

1/3 cup well chopped Italian leaf parsley

¼ cup Lea & Perrin Worcestershire Sauce

Freshly baked onion & garlic buns toasted with a thin schmear of mayonnaise

1 small head red cabbage, 1 small head Napa Cabbage, 1 fennel bulb halved, all very finely shredded

2-3 large, peeled carrots, shredded

Pigtale Twist Ridiculously Garlic Blue Cheese Dressing

Kosher Salt & freshly cracked black pepper

    Cut the steak into 1” cubes & place alone in your food processor. Pulse until quite coarsely ground. The beauty of keeping this meat coarse is the limbo between a steak & a hamburger which is a rather satisfying place to be. Transfer the sirloin to a large glass bowl to avoid any conflict with metal. Gently mix onion pulp, parsley, egg & Worcestershire without over working the beef. Pat somewhat loosely into 4 patties & place on a plate in one, single layer. Chill uncovered. This is how dry aging is accomplished. The dryness forms a bit of a crust and works double time keeping in the precious juices. These may be crafted a day in advance.

    Also in advance, shred colors cabbage, fennel & carrots. Place in a plastic wrap covered glass bowl and chill. Three hours before serving, toss the cabbage, fennel & carrots scantly with Ridiculously Garlic Blue. For this purpose we do not want the coleslaw overdressed or sloppy because it will be used to top the hamburger in place of caramelized onions.

    Light a grill fire with good charcoal & a fire chimney available at any hardware or culinary shop. Make certain your grill grate is clean. A very robust fire is excellent when lean beef.  Grill the hamburgers for 4-5 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove from the grill and tent with foil allowing the meat to rest & juices to redistribute the juices as you would with a fine steak. Place each burger on its bottom bun, cap with a good dollop of slaw and top with a perfectly toasted bun. I love this hamburger with a good stiff vinegar, chive and pancetta fat German Potato Salad & a double, “hey y’all” Sidecar over shaved ice (worth a little extra effort)!!!

    Caramelized Onions rock on these turkey & salmon burgers (hamburgers too if you’re not a slaw lover). Heat 3 TBS olive oil & 3 TBS butter in a very hot skillet. Add 3 Bermuda (purple) onions, sliced thin. Season with kosher salt & pepper, stir to coat and resist the urge to stir again for 7-8 minutes. A good, heavy skillet will help the cause. Stir once & allow to crisp & caramelize for another 7-8 minutes. Turn the heat to a very low setting and add 3-4 TBS of very good apricot jam (more fruit than sugar. I like Hero or Schwartau) stirring till dissolved into onions. Spoon these glistening morsels into a beautiful, footed glass bowl and serve with a pair of terribly handsome grape tongs.

    Burgerpaloosa 2010 is in the bag! Next month débuts the one & only, silky, luscious Butter Caramel Sauce. Send me an email to vote on the 3 recipes we’ll make Thursday, September 23rd and … … bring your sweet tooth!  Email at meg@pigtaletwist.com

  1. 1)Grilled Peach, Fig & Blueberry Tart over Frangelico Custard with Buttery Caramel Sauce, Crumbled Amaretti Cookies & Fresh Mint

  2. 2)Warm & toasty Apple Jack Cocktails ~ Orchard Fresh Apple Cider, Buttery Caramel Sauce, Cinnamon Sticks, Clove & a splash of Jack Daniels with a dollop of Caramel Whipped Cream & a dusting of fresh Nutmeg

  3. 3)Apple Calvados Cobbler with Crumb Topping & Buttery Caramel Sauce

  4. 4)Chocolate Bread Pudding with Spiced Pecans & Marshmallows drizzled with Bittersweet Ganache & Buttery Caramel Sauce

  5. 5)Naughty Naughty Piggy Tiramisu ~ Layers of Genoise Cake brushed with Amaretto with Shaved Chocolate, Rum Scented Mascarpone, Toasted Blanched Almonds, Crème Anglaise & Rich Dark Espresso. And of course, a bit of Pigtale Twist Buttery Caramel Sauce

  6. 6)Carameltinis in Chocolate Swirled Martini Glasses, Sugared Rims, & Chocolate Covered Strawberries