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American Burger, International Flair

Revamp your backyard barbecue in minutes with a few simple, unexpected toppings.

As the long Memorial Day weekend beckons, the backyard grill parties commence, most with burgers and hot dogs on the menu.  

While there is nothing wrong with the iconic American hamburger, served with ketchup, pickles, etc., it takes mere minutes to spice things up a bit, with a few readily available ingredients. 

Rather than doing anything different to the meat itself, I created several simple sauces – most with only 2 ingredients – and toppings to add panache to the burger.  One could even use these to jazz up the hot dog as well. 

Below are recipes for five globally-influenced burgers – my favorites being The Bonsai and The Frenchie – to make your weekend bbq especially memorable this year.

 

THE BONSAI

Grilled hamburger

Hamburger bun

Boston or bibb lettuce; watercress could be also be used

Wasabi sauce (recipe below

Marinated cucumbers (recipe below

Smear some wasabi sauce on both the top and bottom buns.  Place the burger on the bottom bun.  Layer with the lettuce, several cucumber slices and the top bun.  Serve the extra marinated cucumbers as a side salad.

Wasabi Sauce

½ cup mayonnaise

3 teaspoons wasabi powder; optionally use wasabi paste but use more sparingly

Mix the ingredients together in a small container.  Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Marinated Cucumber Salad

1 English Cucumber

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1/3 cup rice vinegar

2 teaspoons soy sauce

½ teaspoon grated ginger, optional

Slice the cucumber into thin slices with a mandolin (vegetable slicer) or with a knife. Toss the cucumber with the salt in a bowl – let it rest for 30 minutes.  Drain the liquid after 30 minutes.  Whisk together the remaining ingredients together in a separate small bowl.  Pour over the cucumbers and toss together.  Cover and refrigerate until needed. 

 

THE FRENCHIE

Grilled hamburger

Hamburger bun

3-4 pickled cornichons, or small dill gherkins, cut in half lengthwise

2 thin slices goat cheese (it will crumble, but this is fine)

frisee lettuce – handful

Truffle sauce (recipe below)

Smear the truffle sauce on both the top and bottom buns.  Add the burger to the bottom bun, followed by the goat cheese, followed by the cornichons, followed by the frisee and the top bun.  Voila!

Truffle Sauce

½ cup mayonnaise

1 ½ teaspoons truffle salt; or 3/4 teaspoon truffle oil 

Mix the ingredients together.  Cover and refrigerate until needed.

 

THE ITALIAN DELI 

Grilled hamburger

Hamburger bun

Marinated red pepper, 1-2 slices

1 slice provolone cheese

baby arugula, handful

Hoagie sauce (recipe below)

Warm the cheese on the hamburger for about 30 seconds on the grill. Smear the hoagie sauce on both the top and bottom buns.  Place burger with cheese on bottom bun.  Add the marinated red pepper and the arugula, followed by the top bun.  Buon Appetito!

Hoagie Sauce

½ cup mayonnaise

1 ½ tablespoons hoagie spread condiment – this is chopped hot cherry peppers if you can’t find the spread in the Italian section of your grocery store.

Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until needed.

 

THE MOROCCAN

Grilled hamburger

Hamburger bun

3-4 mint leaves

1 piece boston or bibb lettuce

Spiced Pomegranate Ketchup (recipe below)

Smear both the top and bottom buns with the spiced ketchup.  Add the burger, followed by the mint, lettuce and top bun. 

Spiced Pomegranate Ketchup

½ cup tomato ketsup

1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses, found in specialty stores. (I found this at Mt. Kisco Farm store.)

½ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon honey

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until needed.

 

EL GRINGO

Grilled hamburger

Hamburger bun

1 slice cheddar cheese

Salsa sauce (recipe below)

Pickled jalepenos slices, 3-4 per burger

Tomato slice

Bibb or boston lettuce leaf

Avocado slices, 3 per burger

Warm the cheese on the hamburger on the grill for 30-60 seconds. Smear both the top and bottom buns with the salsa sauce. Add the meat with cheese, followed by the jalepenos, tomato, lettuce, avocado and the top bun. 

Salsa Sauce

1/3 cup Crema (Mexican sour cream), or sour cream if unavailable at grocery store

¼ cup jarred salsa of your choice 

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until needed.

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