The basic hamburger has many permutations, depending on condiments–from classics like bacon and cheese to crazier additions like a fried egg. The meat itself can be charred on a grill, or seared on a griddle; the bun can be crusty, soft like a potato roll, or nixed altogether. The patty can be thick or thin; the meat ground from sundry parts of the cow. But unless you're from Australia, you might never have heard of this one: sliced beets. My girlfriend came across this recipe while befriending Aussies in England.
Especially counterpoint to a crispy, griddled, well-salted patty, the sweet earthiness of a roasted beet works wonderfully. After reading about thin-patty cast iron burgers the other day, I was anxious to get home and make one, which is when I remembered I had some Chioggia beets waiting to be roasted. I skipped the traditional Aussie burger bacon for avocado, but kept the essential fried egg, which drips its yolk over everything like a sauce. This is a great burger twist to have in the repertoire as summer approaches.
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 small beets (not pickled)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- 2 slices cheddar or American cheese (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash the beets well, then wrap individually in tin foil. Roast for 45-60 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife. Alternatively, you can sometimes buy shrink-wrapped pre-cooked peeled beets; just avoid the pickled variety. Let cool in the foil, peel, the slice into 1/4-inch disks.
Divide the meat into 2 portions, seasoning with a large pinch of salt on each and a couple grinds of pepper. Work them as little as possible. Flatten into thin patties about 5 inches across.
Heat a cast iron skillet until very hot, then carefully lay the patties, turn down the heat a little, and cook, untouched, for 1-2 minutes, or until the meat begins to release from the pan. Flip carefully and brown the other side until the burgers are to desired doneness.
Meanwhile, heat a small nonstick skillet and fry the eggs in a bit of butter, taking care to remove from the heat before the yolk is solidified. Toast the buns.
Assemble hamburgers and serve immediately.