Cook the Book: Family Meal Cheeseburgers

Cook the Book: Family Meal Cheeseburgers

[Photograph: Francesc Guillamet]

There's something that makes us smile about Ferran Adrià and his staff sitting down to a pre-service family meal of Cheeseburgers and potato chips before opening the doors of elBulli for the evening. These simple burgers adapted from The Family Meal seem to be the polar opposite of what Adrià and company were putting out at elBulli. They're just simple, satisfying and most of all, food that you don't really have to think about and can just sit back and enjoy before what promises to be a long, very busy night.

These simple burgers are made even more budget effective (a huge contributing factor in family meals regardless of how successful the restaurant) by adding a bit of bread softened in milk and egg to stretch the ground beef.

Burger purists might be put off by the filler, but in this case, it's kept to a minimum and barely perceptible. Aside from that, these are pretty straightforward burgers, fried on the stovetop with a bit of olive oil and garnished with slices of cheddar.

And on the side? Well, nothing too fancy here either, Adrià likes his burgers with a side of potato chips.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Family Meal to give away this week.

Adapted from The Family Meal by Ferran Adrià. Copyright © 2011. Published by Phiadon. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved

  • Yield:6
  • Active time: 20 minutes
  • Total time:20 minutes


  • ¾ slice white bread (crust removed)
  • 4 teaspoons whole milk
  • 1½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 burger buns
  • 6 cheddar cheese slices
  • Potato chips, for serving


  1. 1.

    To make the burgers, tear the bread into pieces and soak in the milk for 5 minutes. Combine the meat, egg, soaked bread, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Stir together with your hands until you have an even mixture. Divide into the appropriate number of portions and shape into patties.

  2. 2.

    Cook the burgers with the oil in a frying pan over medium heat, or under a hot broiler, turning once during cooking. Cook for 3 minutes for rare, 5 minutes for medium, and 8 minutes for well done. Cut the buns in half and toast them lightly in a dry pan or under the broiler. Top each burger with a slice of cheese.

  3. 3.

    Using a spatula, lift each burger onto a bun. Sandwich with the top
    half of the bun. Add your choice of toppings. Serve the burgers with potato chips on the side.