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The 2017 Salad Crisis and Burgers

There has been a shortage of courgettes and salads due to bad weather in Spain. I hadn’t really noticed as we don't buy courgettes in winter, because we grow them in summer and anyone who has ever grown their own courgettes knows, by the end of the season you don’t want to see another courgette until next May at the very earliest!

Salad leaves are different we do buy some during the winter to supplement the leaves we grow in the poly tunnel. Little gems are our favourites and we’re quite bad about composting the outer dark leaves preferring the inner pale leaves. This is a waste of the outer leaves, so what to do?

Well, for a start I gave the slightly floppy outer leaves a good soak in some cold water with a spoonful of salt in it for about 45 minutes, then I drained the leaves and dried them in a salad spinner. After that they went into a container covered in damp kitchen paper in the fridge over night.

They were crisp the next day and perfect for a salad. I used them in a classic Caesar salad and got to thinking about all the Caesar variations there are out there, with bacon or chicken, blue cheese or avocado or sometimes all of the above!

Blue cheese……….. there was some blue cheese butter in the fridge, some cream and I was making burgers from some minced beef……… how would burgers with blue cheese and lettuce sauce go down?

Very nicely as it turns out.

Burgers with Blue Cheese and Lettuce Sauce

The finished burger

250g beef mince
salt and pepper

1tbs butter
1tbs blue cheese
100mls cream 
10 lettuce leaves

2-4 slices of onion
4 slices of aubergine or 2 flat cap mushrooms 

2 slices of Parma ham or 4 slices of pancetta

Season the mince with salt and pepper and shape into two burgers and leave to rest in the fridge.

Mash together the blue cheese and butter with a fork and put into a small saucepan with the cream.
Slice the lettuce leaves longways removing the centre rib if you like.

Brush the onion and aubergine slices with oil and fry in a pan until nicely browned and keep warm.
Bake or grill the mushrooms with a knob of butter, salt and pepper until just done and keep warm.  

Grill the Parma ham or pancetta till crisp.

Heat a pan or grill to cook the burgers and put the blue cheese butter and cream on to a low heat to melt.

When the blue cheese is liquid add the lettuce leaves and bring to a simmer until the lettuce is wilted and the sauce thick.

Lettuce sauce!

Cook the burgers as you like them and place on the aubergine slices or flat cap mushrooms and top with the onions and the sauce and then the Parma ham or pancetta.  

Building the burger

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