Posted by johngl
Back on the 4th of July holiday, when my good friend BigDMcC and I participated in our very own paella fest, he brought over a type of pepper seasoning I had never experienced before: Piment d’Espelette. That seasoning just did wonders with the pork he used in his paella.
Since we are still on our burger crusade, I thought, why not?
It also happened that a week or so ago, most glorious spousal unit discovered this recipe on Food & Wine. It sounded good, so I thought I might just change it up a little bit.
Begin with a one-pound piece of pork shoulder:
Oddly, at the market, you might find this labeled as pork butt. Don’t ask me why; I don’t feel like researching it at the moment.
Anyway, cut it up:
Yep, it is pretty fatty stuff. But then, that is why it’s so good.
Now just run it through a grinder:
Okay, so here is where the whining usually begins: I don’t have a grinder! What do I do?
Well, the butchers in the markets have really big grinders. They are happy to help you out. All you really have to do is pick out your roast, plunk it down on the counter and say, “Could you please grind this up for me?” Two minutes later, it will be ground up and ready for you. Please be sure and thank them!
With that out of the way, you can add some goodies to the pork. Goodies like that piment d’Espelette and smoked Paprika, salt, pepper, onion powder, and a touch of garlic powder.
Use a large spoon and mix it all together, then form it into three burgers. I like my burgers in the 6 oz range. Make them smaller if you’d rather.
That is a Hatch chile pepper in amongst the patties. We’ll be de-seeding that in a minute or so.
This is Serrano ham. It comes from Spanish pigs.
This is Serrano ham after being microwaved for about a minute:
Looking at this picture, it sorta looks like a meat moth, but really, it’s the nuked Serrano ham. Get it crispy, like bacon.
Now for the mayo.
I’m usually not one for mayo on burgers, but I usually don’t do pork burgers either. This is a couple of tablespoons of real mayo, about a half teaspoon of chopped flat-leaf parsley, one small finely-chopped garlic clove, a splash of red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and a bit of the espelette pepper. Mix it together into a smooth paste and apply it as a poultice to your face. It does wonders for your skin.
Prepare your cheese:
This is Idiazábal cheese. Made from sheep’s milk, it’s quite flavorful and is rather buttery and nutty tasting. I’d never tried it before, but the recipe suggested it so I gave it a whirl. Petite Basque might be a good substitute if you can’t find this particular type.
So, back to the Hatch:
Splay it and scrape it. Need I say more?
Fry your burgers. A little bit of olive oil in a really hot pan helps keep things from sticking.
Now, apply some cheese:
Toast your buns and apply any leftover mayo. You didn’t actually put it on your face, did you? Lay some of the crispy Serrano on top of the mayo.
Drop the burger on top of the ham, add the Hatch pepper, cap it, and you’re ready to take a bite:
Shown here with some cottage cheese topped with espelette and a smidge of smoked paprika (love that color!), the burger was wonderfully juicy and sorta reminded me of breakfast sausage. The cheese added some wonderful richness (like it was needed given all the fat in the pork) and the ham brought some salty crunchiness to the party. The mayo, laced with vinegar supplied some tartness and the Hatch pepper, some sweetened heat.
Given the breakfast sausage thing, I can’t wait to try these on an English muffin along with some poached egg and hollandaise. M-mmmm.
Thanks, BigD, for the intro to Piment d’Espelette!