Are you looking for a healthier choice during your Labor Day BBQ? Perhaps try this delicious turkey burger recipe. Turkey burgers normally have a tendency to dry out but this recipe stays moist and juicy. You won’t miss the beef…I promise! The Dijon mustard and scallions add lots of added flavor. Serve on a whole-wheat bun with slices of cheddar cheese, juicy tomatoes, and crisp lettuce. Corn on the cob and potato salad are perfect sides. Have a great long weekend!!
1 ½ pounds ground turkey (preferably 93% lean)
½ cup finely grated Gruyere or Parmesan Cheese
4 scallions, thinly sliced
¼ cup dried breadcrumbs
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
Vegetable oil, for grates
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns
1. Heat the grill or grill pan to high. In a medium bowl, use a fork to gently combine the turkey with the cheese, scallion, breadcrumbs, Dijon mustard, and garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into four 1-inch thick patties. (For smaller burgers this can make 5-6 patties).
2. Lightly oil the grill. Place the patties on the hottest part of the grill; sear until browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Move the patties to the cooler part of the grill (ignore this step if you are working with a grill pan). Continue grilling until cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes per side.
3. Split the hamburger buns and toast on the grill. Place a burger on each bun and serve with desired accompaniments. (I like to serve mine with red onion slices, crisp lettuce, ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise).
Serves 4-6 depending on the size of the patty
Note: These burgers freeze well. Wrap uncooked patties in plastic wrap and then store in a zip-lock bag in the freezer. Make sure to thaw completely before cooking on the grill.
Inspired by a recipe in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Great Food Fast
I’ve had a lot of hamburgers in my 28 years. My extensive research dates all the way back to my formative years. I believe I even had a birthday party at McDonalds one year (not that their Big Mac should rank among any sort of food related “Best Of” list). I’ve had fancy burgers, casual burgers, burgers made of Kobe beef, burgers made on a greasy spoon griddle that is probably older than my Grandparents, and the world famous In-N-Out burger.
Up until recently the best hamburger I had ever had was at Palena in Cleveland Park. The Palena burger is simple, affordable and delicious…it also doesn’t hurt that it is cooked by a former White House chef. (Something tells me Bill Clinton would have loved this man).
Then I took a trip to Saugatuck, MI and encountered the burger at Salt of the Earth in Fennville. This hamburger is the best burger I’ve ever had in my entire life. This burger was so good that I almost passed out at the table. It was 10 out of 10 on my Foodie Delight Scale.
The folks at Salt of the Earth are doing something truly special and admirable at their restaurant. The full restaurant consists of a bakery, bar, and dining room. Almost everything is made in house. Their meat and produce are all locally sourced. The hamburger is a perfect example of the love and dedication that goes in to their food. The meat is brought in to the restaurant in large slabs. The chef then grinds his own meat and creates his own patties. The egg bun with a sprinkling of sea salt is baked in the restaurant. The lettuce, tomato (which I actually thought was cut a little too large…the only complaint in an otherwise perfect dish), and grilled onions were grown only a couple of miles from the restaurant. Even the mustard, ketchup, and mayo were made in house.
For all intents and purposes Salt of the Earth is way off the beaten path. But it provided one of the best meals in our week long vacation in Western and Northern Michigan. We couldn’t stop talking about this hamburger for the rest of the trip. We dream about this burger. We will return to Fennville….for this burger!
I haven’t won many things in my life. In elementary school I won two lobsters at the Stanley School Carnival. My parents appreciated the prize, considering lobster prices at the time, but I was less than thrilled. In middle school I won a hockey stick signed by all the Bruins. I would have preferred pretty much any other raffle prize.
So you can imagine my excitement when I found out I won a free hamburger at West End Bistro, Eric Ripert’s DC-based restaurant in the Ritz Carleton. Chef Joe Palma, chef du cuisine at the West End Bistro, posted a contest on Twitter (in 140 words or less of course) for his followers to guess how many burgers they sold in the past month, closest answer wins a free burger. I of course shuttered at the fact that it was a “math question” but then methodically came about my answer of 940 burgers. I was pretty meticulous about it. I guessed how many guests they served a week, multiplied it by 4 and then tried to figure out how many ordered a burger each day (factoring in that it was a hotel restaurant and therefore probably sold more burgers than usual due to the business and tourist clientele). I was pretty shocked to find out I was only off by 33 burgers (the correct answer is 907).
Last Thursday I went to West End Bistro to meet Chef Palma and collect my prize. Sitting at the circular bar I took in the sleek ambiance. For a drink I opted for the West End’s own brew, a deep ale that is slightly bitter but refreshing at the same time. To my surprise Chef sent out a tomato consommé to start off my meal. This is by far the most refreshing and delicious cold soup I have had in a long time. The simplicity and freshness rivals only Palena’s spring consommé (a highlight on their menu in my opinion). The broth was made of a simple tomato water. In it was floating farm-fresh grape tomatoes with sprinkles of feta cheese and basil. It was summer in a bowl.
Next came my prize⎯the West End Burger. The best way to describe this hamburger is to just simply say it was a “damn good burger.” Again, simplicity was key here. Chef Palma makes the classic American burger. As he says “I don’t mess with it.” There isn’t any fancy sauces or dripping bacon. Just quality ground sirloin and the toppings of my childhood: cheese, ketchup, mustard, pickles, lettuce and tomato. It was delicious and satisfying. It had all the qualities of a roadside burger stand but classed up a little.
Just when I thought I had had enough, Chef Palma sent out a dessert that included gelato and fried goodness…I couldn’t resist. West End Bistro’s beignets filled with lemon custard and served with basil ice cream is a pitch-perfect summer treat. I’m a big fan of savory ice creams/gelatos and this was one of the best I’ve ever had. The basil did not over power the creaminess of the ice cream and it complimented the lemon flavor perfectly.
Overall this was a wonderful summer meal. I appreciate the West End Bistro’s commitment to freshness and local produce. You get the feeling that Chef Palma likes to let the flavors sing and not mess up a plate with too many ingredients. Everyone at the restaurant was kind (including the great bartender who’s name I regrettably forgot) and made me feel like a winner. I look forward to returning again soon.
West End Bistro-1190 22nd Street, NW Washington, DC 202-974-4900 http://www.westendbistrodc.com/