As I write this, Brian is taking his afternoon nap. He has a deep, deep affection for his afternoon siestas; he sleeps poorly at night but in the afternoon sun he is out as soon as his head hits the pillow. I have never been a napper, even as a child so I use this lull in our weekend for "me" time. We live together in a studio apartment so as not to disturb him I read, catch up on a podcast, or as I am doing now, write.
This post was supposed to happen last week, but when Brian and I headed out the door grocery list in hand we thought, why not a quick beer first? Of course, we bumped into a friend of ours at the bar; one beer turned into much more, turned into me being grumpy and irritable, which ultimately lead to Brian eating pizza for dinner, as I was asleep by 10. Such is life. After failing last week, we were determined to be successful this weekend. We bought the ingredients yesterday and this morning after relaxing, catching up on reading, and drinking a green juice, we put on some music and started to prep.
I will be the first to say that I think Gabrielle Hamilton, who created the recipe I used today, would hate this blog post. She is the owner of Prune Restaurant in NYC's East Village and is also a well-known author. I have read several interviews with her where she is on the record about disdaining food writers and their fetishization of food and cooking. The Prune cookbook she wrote is not so much a cookbook as it is a window into her restaurant and its day to day. If you are unfamiliar with kitchen terminology, you might find yourself confused by what it means to " Put burger on a sizzle plate," or " broil under the Sally." The book is like a guidebook to her line cooks with listings for pars and admonishing cooks for improper plating. I have worked in restaurants for years when Brian got me this cookbook for Christmas I loved the style of the book and the tone. It feels like being in a kitchen but in book form. Sorry Gabrielle, you might not love food bloggers, but at least one ( and I suspect more) love you. #GirlCrush
Enough about all that, though, what you want to know is if the burgers were any good right? I am usually an advocate for dead simple, thin, diner-style burgers. All I desire in a burger is a small crispy edged patty with melty American cheese, ketchup, and mayo, on a griddled potato roll. Fancy, overcomplicated giant burgers do not appeal to me. The thing about Gabrielle Hamilton is that she loves straightforward, unfussy food too. She said," it is so good to be classic and not trendy." So I trusted when I saw her burger recipe that included lamb and parsley and was served on an English muffin, that it wasn't different for the sake of being cool, it was different because it was delicious. I was right. After using the immersion blender for the first time to make the Parsley-Shallot Butter, I cooked the beef and lamb patties in a cast-iron skillet and topped them with white cheddar cheese. I smeared a healthy dose of the butter into the nooks and crannies of the warm, toasted English muffins and set the burgers in between the two "bun" halves. As Hamilton said in her book, " SO FREAKING DELICIOUS." After a lunch like that maybe I'll take a nap after all.
Prune's Grilled Hamburger with Cheddar Cheese on Toasted English Muffin with Parsley-Shallot Butter
Yield: 4 orders
1 pound ground chuck
1/2 pound ground lamb
Four slices sharp white cheddar
Two teaspoons kosher salt
Two teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4 Thomas's original sandwich-size English muffins
Parsley-Shallot Butter ( see recipe)
Run your hands under very cold water for a minute, then gently combine the two meats.
Divide the meat into four equal 6-ounce portions and then gently form portions into patties that are 1 1/4" thick and 3" in diameter.
Season each burger all over- top, bottom, and the circumference-with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
Touch the patties as tenderly and as little as possible.
On medium-high heat on the grill or in a cast-iron skillet, place the burger 2 inches apart from each other. For medium rare on the grill, cook for seven minutes on one side, flip, and cook for five more minutes. Cook a few minutes less in a skillet, use your judgment, you know your stovetop best. Do not turn, touch, press down on, or otherwise molest the burgers while they are cooking.Add cheese last minute to minute and a half of cooking; you want just melted not liquefied cheese.
Split the English muffins in half and toast well. Generously schmear both the tops and the bottoms with the room-temperature parsley-shallot butter, "wall to wall", so that every bite is well seasoned.
Place the burgers on the bottoms and close with the buttered English muffin lids.
Yield: 2 1/2 cups ( way more than you need, adjust accordingly)
Two garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 cup peeled and coarsely chopped shallots
2 cups picked-clean parsley leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 pound unsalted butter cut into 1-inch cubes, at coolish room temperature
In a food processor chop garlic.
Add shallots and chop finely.
Add parsley and salt, process to coarsely chopped, then add butter.
Process to smooth and emerald green.