What a great idea from Paul (and Freya) to host an event with such a subject in their blog Writing at the Kitchen Table. I think burgers are something like the Italian pizza everybody knows them, has eaten them at least once and I can't imagine anybody who don't like them. And as you can vary with the flour for your pizza-dough and with it's toppings you can vary with the burger-buns, the patties and the sauces. So much variety - almost every combination is possible. I've chosen lamb for our burgers. Lamb is one of our favorites and I think lamb is not that überbred as pork and beef-BSE is far away. Okay, it's a bit decadent to use lamb loin, other parts will do it as well or even better(?) but sometimes the other parts smell a bit strong, to say it politely, and the loin is much easier to mince. For sure this is not that kind of burger Paul is on the search for since 20 years but it was just that delicious.
My entry for this event is:
tzatziki, marinated eggplants, cole slaw, and tomatoe relish
First I made the rolls. The recipe for it will be enough for about 7 buns or 2 flatbreads. It is from the book "bread" written by Eric Treuille & Ursula Ferrigno. I only skipped the 400 g pitted and coarsely chopped black olives the original recipe is calling for. Every bread I've made from this book turned out as expected and the instructions are great.
Ingredients for the focaccia buns:
4 tspdried yeast or 30 g fresh yeast
350 mlwater (her in the tropics I use tepic water, usually you should go for lukewarm)
1 kgstrong white flour
150 mlolive oil
150 mldry white wine
4 Tbspfresh thyme leaves
2 Tbspfresh oregano, chopped
Sprinkle the yeast into 200 ml water in a bowl. Leave for 5 minutes and stir to dissolve.
In a large bowl mix together the flour and salt, make a well in the center. Pour in the yeasted water.
With a wooden spatula of your hands draw in enough flour to form a soft paste. Cower the bowl and leave to sponge about 20 minutes.
Add the oil and wine and mix in the flour adding the water gradually until you have a soft and sticky dough.
Turn the dough on to a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Work in 2 tablespoons of the thyme (at this step initially the olives will be added as well).
Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size for about 1½ to 2 hours. Knock back.
Now I folded the dough once from each side and pressed the seem together. Then I folded it four times from only the opposite sites pressed it together and divided the string into 7 equal part. Chafe (form it into a ball with your palms by rotating the dough with your palms under light pressure) each portion for about 2 minutes. Leave to rest further 45 to 60 minutes under a tea towel, until doubled in size.
With your fingertips gently press into the surface to form some dimples. Sprinkle with oregano and the remaining thyme.
Preheat the oven preferably with a baking stone to 200 °C and put an ovenproof bowl filled with ice cubes on the bottom of the oven to provide steam.
Bake the rolls for about 20 to 30 minutes until browned and hollow-sounding when tapped underneath.
Let cool on a wired rack. If you want them to be soft place them on a wooden chopping board or something like that and cover them with a tea towel. Cut into half.
I adopted the recipes for the tomato relish and the lamb patties from my book "taste a new way to cook" in which Sybil Kapoor features amazing thrills to your taste buds. I made only some slightly changes.
Ingredients for the tomato relish:
450 gsmall plum tomatoes (I took all the tomatoes I could find in my fridge, tiny Roma in different colors, cherry tomatoes and some larger ones)
1red onion, finely diced
1cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tspolive oil
½ tspKosher salt
¼ tspfreshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the tomatoes, onions and garlic on a baking tray, sprinkle with olive oil and "bake" them for 45 minutes. Over a bowl speeze the tomatoes, holding them at the end where the vein was and remove this harder part together with the peel. Mix together with the garlic, onions, and juice from the baking tray. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature
Ingredients for the lamb patties:
930 glamb, chilled
5½ Tsolive oil
1large onion, finely diced
2large cloves garlic, finely diced
3organic lemons, the zest of them finely grated (You'll need some juice of the lemons later for the tzatziki and you can substitute all or parts of the white wine vinegar for the tartar sauce of the cole slaw with it.)
¾ tspfreshly ground black peppercorns
Wash and pad dry the lamb than mince it coarsely. Leave the fat on it otherwise it'll be to dry. If you don't have a food grinder mince it by hand for example with a mezzaluna or, like I did, with a large santoku knife. With the food processing attachment of a kitchen machine it will become to fine. Chop the herbs either alone or simply together with the meat.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat and sweat the onions and garlic in it.
In a bowl mix together the lemon zest, meat, herbs, onions and garlic and season with salt and pepper.
Divide the mixture into 7 equal batches and, with wet hands, shape them into burger-paddies. Don't apply to much pressure otherwise the meat will release its juice. Pile the lamb-paddies on a plate using greaseproof paper between them. Chill them for at least 30 minutes.
If you use a BBQ-grill cook the burgers when the flames already died down and you've a redish-grey ember. I used a, over medium-high heat, preheated grilling-pan of cast-iron.
Brush the burgers with the remaining olive oil. Grill them for about 5 minutes from each side. Turn them only once around.
Ingredients for the cole slaw:
500 gwhite cabbage, shredded or sliced
1fresh egg yolk
6 Tbspcold pressed sunflower oil
¼ tspground white mustard seeds or 1/8 tsp mustard powder
½ tspfreshly ground black peppercorns
3 Tbspwhite wine vinegar
1 tspKosher salt
1hard boiled egg yolk, mashed
4cornichons, finely chopped
1 tspcapers, finely chopped
1shallot, finely chopped
1 Tbsppaprika powder or more
For the mayonnaise beat the fresh egg yolk until frothy add 3 tablespoons of the oil drop by drop wisking vigourosely. When this mixture is thick like a mayonnaise should be whisk in 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, the mustard and the pepper. Whisk until well combined. Add the remaining oil gradually still whisking. To make an tartar sauce stir in the cooked, mashed egg yolk. Season with salt, add the tiny gherkins, capers, and shallots. Season with sugar and paprika. It may seems to be a bit to salty and sharp but if you stir it into the prepared cabbage it will be just right.
Ingredients for the tzatziki:
230 ggreek yoghurt
2large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2½Japanese or Lebanese cucumber, about 105 g
½ tspsea salt
¼ tspfenugreek, freshly ground
1/8 tspfreshly ground white pepper corns
1/3 tspfreshly ground caraway seeds
1 1/8teaspoons lemon juice
Simply mix all the ingredients together and season to your palate. If you want to add some herbs like thyme, oregano or go for dill. Refrigerate.
100 gbaby spinach, washed and spin dried
6slices marinated eggplants/aubergines
Some thick cut-french fries seasoned with
sea salt and
freshly ground cumin