FFWD: A French hamburger?

You know what the French call a Big Mac? A Royale with cheese.

As a third-generation Texan, I know a little something about hamburgers. Our family has its own secret recipe. Actually, most families I know around here have their own secret recipes. We go to our favorite restaurant, Hubbell and Hudson Kitchen, about once a week, and 4 out of 5 times we both get burgesr. I worked hard to perfect my favorite burger from LA, the Father's Office burger, and there's always a container of caramelized onion-bacon compote gooey-ness in the refrigerator, standing ready.

All this is to say, when I purchased Around My French Table last year, a French hamburger was not at the top of my list of 'That looks so good I must prepare that before I ever eat anything again' recipes. It popped up on the August recipe list, and I begrudgingly decided to try it out (although, ha ha, I'll show them - I'll make it a week late!).

And you know what? This burger is really good. The ground beef is mixed with a lot of great flavor, along with a delicious onion marmalade that complements the beef nicely. Throw in a little dill pickle and Parmesan, and we prepared one of the best hamburgers I've ever tasted. That was a surprise.

First, you chop some red onion and cook it with butter, water, and coriander. After looking at some of the FFWD blogs on this recipe (kudos to me for getting a late start!), I opted to add maybe a tablespoon of sugar and then simmered until jammy.

For the burger meat, you add chopped cornichons (I had to use mini gherkins), capers, dried tomatoes (oven-dried Dorie tomatoes, of course), tarragon, and parsley.

Of course, instead of cooking them on a hot cast-iron pan, we used the outdoor grill. Toasted our sesame seed buns, grilled the burgers for exactly 2 minutes on each side (they ended up somewhere between rare and medium-rare), spread onion jam and thinly sliced dill pickles (homemade) on the bun, plopped down our burgers, and topped them with Parmesan and baby arugula.

As Mr Leaven pointed out, we didn't need any accompaniment (except cold beer), as we had the 4 basic food groups covered (although I don't think there are 4 basic food groups anymore - I'm getting old...). We sat outside, enjoying the cool evening (I think it dropped down to the high 80s - chilly!), devouring some really awesome burgers.

We had the exact same meal again for lunch the next day. That one was eaten inside (oh my goodness is it ever miserably hot out there).

By the way, on a completely unrelated note, it's sort of amazing that our weather here in south Texas has been setting records daily, the weathermen announce delightedly that a tropical storm may be headed our way (and thanks a lot for turning towards Louisiana, Lee), all our lawns are dying (except that one guy down the street who doesn't give a hoot if there are water restrictions in effect) and I haven't seen one CNN report about this extreme drought. Yep, just searched CNN and the only mention of the drought is in conjunction with the Dallas wildfire. I guess, thanks to the wonders of modern plumbing and engineering, we are not in any danger of shriveling up and blowing away (our grass and ivy and tomatoes and zucchini, yes, but us and our loved ones, probably not any time soon). Just interesting.

See? This is a raging stream when it rains.
Oh, and you can see others' burgers (and apparently a few meatloafs) here.


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