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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Basil Beef Sliders

We all love fresh Basil.

And, although it is quite a common herb, it is one of my favourites of all time.

I admit that I do like it in many of its tried and tested pairings; say, things like tomatoes, in pesto, cream sauces, etc.

However, one pairing that is not so everyday is with Beef.

In particular, hamburgers.


Man I love burgers, however, I don't like making them very often because it is messy and it ends up making my house smell like fried meat for at least 24 hours.
In fact, if anyone can give me a working solution to preventing meat smell from permeating my house when cooking indoors, I'll give him or her a prize.  (For real).
So it's definitely a treat to have home-made burgers.  So much so that I usually try to make them super delicious (read: lots of love and attention.)

So let's talk burger construction.

Bread crumbs for a bit of fibre-y texture and filler, and an egg for sticky cohesion, are standard.

But after that, I like to play it up a bit.  I've done everything from sautéed mushrooms to blue cheese in my experiments.  Some of my favourite are any of the fresh green herbs, garlic of course, onion to be sure, and chipotles.

So, because I'm the kind of cook who believes that every iteration or re-iteration of a meal should be better than the last, it holds to reason that every time I concoct a burger it should be better than the last.

Now - I'm not just talking about flavour combinations here, because those are hard to qualify or hierarchize; but other, less subjective, attributes can be evaluated, such as texture, cohesion, technique, composition, etc.

So for today's burgers, one thing I decided to alter, was the whole darn size of the things.

Mini burgers.  Who doesn't like them?  Why place all your eggs (condiments/toppings) in one basket (bun)? :)

Sliders is the term.  And no, I'm not talking about that 90s show with John Rhys-Davies. ;) 

So, I had a few things from another meal I made recently (Tempura Veggies), namely a whole crapload of breadcrumbs and some garlic-basil yogurt.

The breadcrumbs I mixed with some freshly chopped garlic, scallion, and basil leaves.

Not hard.

Next, I mixed a raw egg into my extra lean ground beef.

And then mixed the two together.  I bet you didn't see that coming.

So, after that got gooey and gross (I just mix this sort of thing with my hands,) I formed a bunch of meatballs.

I actually made a dozen.  Easily... they were not even close to being small.

So... that's the easy part.  That took probably only about 5 minutes (not counting the making of my own breadcrumbs).

Now for the hard part.

I say 'hard' but this isn't really difficult, it's just messy as f@%$.

I DO enjoy an opportunity to use my iron griddle pan though.  It makes things pretty.

Make sure it's super hot before you put anything in it.

If you don't know the water drop test thingy, which you should because I know it... you can test to see if your pan is hot enough by tossing a drop or three of water in and seeing if it boils immediately, or just sits there for a second.  Obviously the former is the one you want.

Because my beef was super lean, I very lightly coated the patties with some olive oil real quick and then gently placed them in the pan to grill.

Depending on how well-done you like your burgers, these only take about 3 minutes on the first side, and about 1 minute on the second.  This is for beef burgers obviously, other types of burger patties require more...

Pretty simple to make.

As you can see below, we've chosen PC slider thins as tonight's burger medium.

And, although each slider was adorned differently (from pickles and mayo, to dijon and butter leaf lettuce), that previously mentioned garlic-basil yogurt was certainly popular... It used RAW garlic, so was super spicy!  ;)

Anyway, here are just a couple pics of my favs: