There was a time when burgers seemed to be exclusively fast food or diner fare. Relatively inexpensive to make, it was a staple of family restaurants.
Somewhere along the lines, things changed. And now almost every upscale restaurant has their version of this classic American dish. But it is no longer the inexpensive meat patty, buried between two dull buns. Every aspect of the burger is elevated, Kobe beef takes the place of ground round. Instead of American cheese, a cheeseburger is dressed in aged cheddar. Heirloom tomatoes and mixed baby greens replace tasteless tomatoes and iceberg lettuce. And instead of rings of sliced onions, the onions themselves are cooked over a low heat and caramelized. Even the bun gets a makeover, turning into a brioche or pretzel incarnation.
This cheeseburger is one of the upscale burgers you can make at home. It's a far cry from Jimmy Buffett's Cheeseburger in Paradise, which was not too particular, not too precise. This one takes a little more time and skill than merely throwing a hunk of meat on the grill, but hey - you're worth it!
Cheddar Cheeseburgers with Caramelized Shallots (From Cooking Light)
1 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 cups thinly sliced shallots
1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb 90% lean ground beef
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup arugula
4 hamburger buns, toasted
3 Tbsp light mayo
- Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add 2 tsp oil, swirling to coat. Add shallots and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook 15 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in vinegar, cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; keep warm.
- Gently combine garlic and beef. Divided meat mixture into 4 equal portions, gently shaping each into a 1/2 inch thick patty. Press thumb in center of each patty, leaving a nickel-sized indentation.
- Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 tsp salt.
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add patties, and cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.
- Top each patty with 2 Tbsp cheese, cover and cook 1 minute or until cheese melts.
- Place 1/4 cup arugula on bottom half of each bun; top with one patty and one-fourth of shallot mixture.
- Spread about 2 tsps mayonnaise on cut side of top half of each bun. Place on top of burgers.