A moment of personal privilege, y’all. When September rolls around and my weekends are free for cooking I am going to be one very happy French Friday Dorista. Photographing a naked hamburger in a dark kitchen on a weeknight with an empty stomach is not ideal. If I’d not been so delirious with hunger after getting home late, making a batch of granola, preparing this week’s recipe, then drooling over them as they cooked, I might have had the sense to photograph one of the cooled burgers AFTER we ate. Honestly, I wasn’t sure there would be any left if I didn’t take the shot right away. A hat tip to Dorie Greenspan’s food stylist and photographer for making the one in the cookbook look great.
Whew, thanks. Glad that’s off my chest.
This week’s French Friday’s with Dorie recipe is Café Salle Pleyel Hamburger. Its described as a sort of American French fusion, underscored by decidedly French flavors like tarragon and cornichons. The recipe was published in Bon Appetit’s Recipe Box so even if you have not purchased a copy of Around My French Table, you can enjoy this one at home. Just one tiny problem. Cooking a hamburger in my home is sort of like suggesting that you want to cook some pasta for Mario Batali. My darling makes a damn fine burger. Friends enjoy my food, but they request hamburgers and I’m not the one cooking them. The bar is set pretty high.
Oh, and a second problem. (Damn, you are full of problems this week. When are you going to get to the hamburger? Soon? Yes, soon.). Capers. Not a fan of capers. I stared at that ¼ cup of capers. Paused. On one shoulder the little devil saying “Too many capers. Screw it. Leave ‘em out.” On the other the little angel saying, “Oh, but you should follow the recipe the first time. Remember back when you hated mayonnaise?”
So I made the recipe as is. The onion marmalade was fantastic: sweet, flavorful, fragrant with coriander. The burger has flavors I love: the intensity of sundried tomatoes, the bright herbal anise-y flavor of tarragon, tangy and sweet bits of cornichons. Er, and then there’s the capers. Sorry, but they were too much. I want to love them. Someone please send me a good brand/source so I can see if it’s me, or these particular ones. Overall more good than bad: the onion marmalade made the difference between liking and not liking these.
So a couple of notes for my version:
- We don’t eat buns. Mine was served naked and cooked rare to medium rare. Nothing between me and my burger.
- It’s topped with Fontinella cheese that we had on hand: flavorful aged cheese that tastes like a cross between Parmesan, Romano, Provolone.
- I found I needed to cook the marmalade a bit more than 20 minutes. I ended up taking it off the heat, covering it and letting it steam, then returning to the heat to cook off the juices.
- Next time, minimal or no capers.
East Coasters: batten down the hatches and stay safe! And if you want to follow the rest of the French Friday crew head over to French Fridays with Dorie. There are a few potential recipes for September that I may skip: but just for fun, I’ll be playing catch up by cooking some of the 30+ recipes I missed!