Zuni Cafe’s Hamburgers

When it comes to cooking, I don’t usually let the seasons dictate my menu. For instance, I have been known to cook up a batch of thick, chunky and belly-warming Pasta e Fagioli – wholly perfect to chase away the blues on a cold, rainy day – in the middle of Summer. I am also not beyond making a cool, vinegary, no-cook pasta salad filled with a tonne of unseasonal cherry tomatoes when we are knee deep in Winterland. Basically, I am all for cooking anything at anytime of the year as long as I feel like eating it.

However, if there is a food that screams Summer for me, it has to be burgers. I just can’t let Summer pass me by without making  a single burger. Last Summer, I made different permutations of burgers every weekend – hamburgers, turkey burgers and salmon burgers. I have yet to try making veggie burgers, but they are definitely on the top of my “Must Do Before the End of Summer” list.

Now, to my husband’s dismay and my daughter’s delight, I have all but given up eating red meat. When I was growing up, we didn’t eat a lot of red meat; and I can certainly do without it in my adult life. Having said that, I have to admit I really enjoy biting into a good, juicy burger. My husband finds that very reassuring, indeed.

This recipe by Judy Rodgers of Zuni Cafe makes really tasty hamburgers with just two ingredients: beef chuck and salt. The recipe requires you to salt the meat overnight before grinding chunks of beef yourself and forming the ground meat into patties. I obeyed the pre-salting part, but I also made a big deviation by using ground beef from my butcher instead of grinding beef chuck on my own. I’m sure grinding your own meat will give you incredible hamburgers, but I got very decent results using ground beef from my butcher. The convenience makes taking this shortcut worthwhile.

Between now until the end of August, this will not be the last burger to appear on my blog.


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