Thanks to Chef Michael d’Ennery of Remington’s in Manasquan for this guest post to help celebrate National Burger Month.
I’m not a steak guy, but I love a good burger. In fact, when I go to a new restaurant and there is a burger on the menu, I’ll order it. It’s usually a sign of what’s going on in the kitchen.
When asked, of course, I couldn’t do an everyday hamburger, but rather something different, challenging and somewhat familiar to everyone. And the Umami-fied burger I’ve done here in the past just seemed too easy!
Lamb is something that is readily available, certainly legs anyway. If you can’t find ground lamb, ask the butcher to grind up a leg of lamb; it has the perfect lean-to-fat ratio (kind of like pork shoulder). I enjoy a little “chew” or “steakiness,” so I ask for a larger grind. It seems more savory.
Season your burger! Salt, and to a certain extent, pepper, are crucial. Use more than you think you need because most of it will come off during cooking. Flipping your burger frequently results in a more evenly cooked piece of meat. Basting your burger in its own fat, or another (such as olive oil, bacon fat left from breakfast, sausage drippings from last night’s pan of pasta and peppers) for another layer of flavor just adds more depth and complexity without adding to your cost.
As for toppings and sides for the lamb, I love Middle Eastern flavors. Here at the restaurant we use herbed labneh made with mint, parsley, and cilantro, along with grilled red onions steeped afterwards in aromatics like garlic, rosemary, thyme, olive oil. The pickles are simple “quick” sweet-and-sour pickles made from a sugar-salt combination and distilled white vinegar solution with generous amount of toasted coriander and mustard seeds. We use a multigrain bun from Aladdin Bakery because I love lots of texture and frankly, I’m burned out on all the brioche that falls apart after a few minutes.
Finally the ketchup. I wanted something spicy but approachable, so I mixed harissa with pomegranate molasses and Heinz ketchup. (Can’t beat the original!) The result is sweet and sour at first, then savory and beefy, leading to slightly smokey and spicy. The creaminess of the labneh will balance out the chilies in the ketchup. Tip: Use whole-fat yogurt!
Even the fries are getting tossed with Za’atar spice!
It sounds like a lot of flavors going on but hey, it’s lamb, and it will hold its own to pretty much anything you pair with it, especially a big American IPA , Syrah/Shiraz, or Zinfandel.
Chef Michael d’Ennery
42 Main Street