French Fridays with Dorie
“It has the taste of forbidden, the illicit – the subversive, even.”
That was Hélène Samuel, Dories Greenspan’s friend, and no, she was not describing Sis. Boom. Blog! — although I wish she was. She wasn’t even talking about the latest Paris nightclub, Lagerfeld’s latest season, or some fancy, overly-light or obscenely-dense chocolate dessert. What was she talking about? She was describing a hamburger.
Yes, that is a lot of hyperbole for a burger but you must consider the French tend to exaggerate things a lot so why not let them? (Just look at what they did when they got their hands on the recipe for “toast”.) Chef Sonia Ezgulian’s burger recipe , created especially for Hélène’s oft-talked about Paris restaurant Cafe Salle Pleyel , is all of that and more.
I must also say that Hélène must be one smart cookie. She knew that to get your restaurant oft-spoken about it is a good idea to get Dorie herself as a friend and fan. Dorie has s poken about the restaurant and burger a lot in her blog and in her cookbooks. And lets face it, my dear, dear friend Dorie knows exactly what she is talking about. If you don’t believe me here is all the evidence you need to show she knows quality and you can trust her opinion:
That’s right. Hélène and I have something in common. We were both gushed over by Dorie!
Hélène’s restaurant is a tiny but trendy dining spot located out of common view on the second floor of the prestigious Salle Pleyel concert hall on Paris’ famed Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. To know about it you had to hear about it and this famed burger helped make it all happen for Hélène. Who wouldn’t tell a friend about this burger? Now that I am featuring it on the menu here at Sis. Boom. Blog. I am expecting popularity to Hélène .
While we are on the topic, am I the only one who thinks that all of Dorie’s friends are named “Hélène”? It seems that Dorie collects friends named Hélène like I collect burger recipes.
Just days ago we tried out a Bison Burger to die for (well, if you are a bison you definitely died for it!) Guests to my home routinely get served high volume turkey burgers, lamb burgers, sliders and even, well, hamburgers. If you want to make the burger experience even more illicit and subversive do what I do and serve it on your best china with a very expensive bottle of red or Champagne. It works. And it will work quite nicely with the Café Salle Pleyel Hamburger.
Café Salle Pleyel Hamburger
This particular burger has it all going on. In fact, it has a lot going on! The recipe calls for quite a bit of chopped add-ins to the meat patty — any two of them would be enough to elevate the burger to ‘special’ but here more is more and quite a sophisticated taste comes through. All accomplished without it one bit of its recognizability as hamburger.
I substituted some dried (but reconstituted) sun dried tomatoes for the jarred, oiled variety and suffered no negative effects. Those tomatoes sticking out of the patty darkened and caramelized putting off even more delicious flavor with each bite.
Read about the award here !
This is what you will need:
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes (2.5 ounces), drained and chopped
- 1/4 cup drained capers (1.5 ounces)
- 6 cornichons
- 1/4 cup tarragon leaves
- 1/2 cup flat parsley leaves
- 1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin, chuck or mix
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, thinly sliced with a vegetable peeler
- 4 large sesame-seed hamburger buns
- 2 dill pickles, thinly sliced lengthwise with a vegetable peeler.
This is how you make it:
- In a small saucepan, combine red onion with butter, coriander and 1 cup water and season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small food processor, pulse sun-dried tomatoes with capers, cornichons, tarragon and parsley until finely chopped.
- In a medium bowl, lightly mix meat with sun-dried tomato mixture and season with pepper.
- Shape meat into 4 patties about 3/4 inch thick.
- Heat olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.
- Add burgers and cook for about 2 minutes on each side for rare or 3 minutes for medium rare.
- Transfer burgers to a platter and top with Parmesan.
- Lightly toast buns.
- Spread a thin layer of onion jam on bottom buns.
- Top with pickle slices and burgers.
- Cover with top buns and serve