Rating: 5 out of 5 (incredibly fresh & full of exciting flavours)
Initial Thoughts: Hallelujah – no diet food!
THE TEST: Each year I cringe at the thought of starting a new year with the clichéd diet. It’s so been done before. As a result, I stage my own private revolution and keep eating as per our family status quo. Don’t get me wrong; there is no more eggnog in our fridge or boxes of chocolates on the counter as per the whole month of December. But I like to think overall we eat a healthy, balanced diet. Everything in moderation, right?!
So when I saw the first cover of the year for Food & Wine Magazine I breathed a sigh of relief. Bobby Flay’s juicy, cheese sauce drenched Nacho Burger was right up my ally. Although for the record I did resist making fries and opted instead for this fantastic Black Bean Salad. See? Balance.
There are three elements to this burger: patties, salsa, and cheese sauce. The patties themselves are simple, consisting solely of ground beef (with some olive oil and s&p for seasoning). Both the salsa and cheese sauce are straightforward to prepare, taking hardly anytime at all. I ended up making the cheese sauce just before firing up the BBQ, which allowed the sauce to cool and thicken while the burgers were grilled.
THE RESULTS: Wowsa. Now this is a burger I will definitely be making again. And again.
In terms of flavour there is a lot going on, but what I loved was how everything turned out incredibly balanced. The freshness of the salsa complimented the creamy richness of the cheese sauce, the crumbled nachos added a great crunchy texture while the pickled jalapeños provided a subtle amount of heat and pickled tang. When dealing with such powerful ingredients keeping the patties simple and pure is the only way to go. Genius move.
I enjoyed having the traditional burger toper (cheese) in a sauce format, and next time would try using jalapeño Monterey Jack for some extra heat. And the salsa? Definitely my favourite part of this recipe. It was so fresh and bright! I loved the use of chipotle chili which provided heat traditionally achieved with a fresh jalapeño or serrano chili, but also lent a nice smokiness through the adobo sauce. Confession? I made tacos the night after making these burgers just so I had an excuse to whip up another batch of this salsa. Seriously good.
Now I’m going to hop on over to Food, Je t’Aimée to see what Aimée thought about this month’s cover recipe. Both of our significant others were ecstatic when they saw this month’s cover and couldn’t wait for us to test the recipe. If any of you would like to join Aimée and I each month, the more the merrier! And don’t forget to check out Kendall Harris’ wine pairing suggestion – it’s one of our favourites.
As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine.
NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com
NOTE: This month’s wine pairing once again comes courtesy of our resident wine expert, Kendall Harris, who rose to the occasion to provide us with an excellent pairing suggestion that just might be my new beverage of choice when it comes to burgers!
Wine Pairing by Kendall Harris of Wine2Three
I was thrilled to be asked to pair a wine with this gourmet burger recipe. All too often people hear burgers and think beer! But when you taste this delicious recipe when paired with a bold, fruity California Zinfandel I think you may be converted. The Zinfandel grape is as American as a good hearty burger, having been one of the earliest grape varietals planted on California soil by Italian immigrants in the late 1800s and it continues to thrive today. I can recommend the Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel from an area of California called Lodi, which is well known for its Zinfandel production and hosts an annual ZinFest every Spring. This wine comes from vines with an average age of 85 years old, so you’re literally sipping a bit of American history! You’ll smell and taste some big, beautiful fruit – black cherry, wild strawberry and rich plum, with a hint of vanilla. Burgers and Zinfandel may just become your weekend preferred pairing!
Kendall Harris shares her adventures in the wine world as Wine2three on Twitter & Facebook. She is WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Advanced Certified & is currently developing a weekly wine series on ShawTV, where she is a full time reporter. Join her on Facebook – click LIKE at www.facebook.com/wine2three for regular fun wine info!