Monday, July 11, 2011

Burgers with a Spanish Flare

Dear Jess,

The summer heat has arrived. I love it. I love basking in it, running in it, doing yoga in it, swimming in it, playing in it and eating in it. All of the winter frost has been melted out of my being for the next few months. AWESOME.

As you know, the summer issue of LCBO's Food and Drink has been released. I saw it the other day when Jason and I were picking up a bottle of red wine. There it was. Sitting in great big piles on the counters by the exit door. I snatched one so fast that Jason didn't even notice until we were on our way back home. I had it out of it's wrapper and my nose stuck between the pages before he even got into the car. Again... AWESOME.

I found a few that I wanted to try, but like every year I figured it would be pushed into the corner of someone's living room and forgotten. I made a decision to forbid that from happening! So when Rachel, Jason and I were sitting around on a Sunday night wondering what to have for dinner, I knew it was time.

Out came the magazine, one post-it and a pen. One short list and a quick trip to the grocery store gave us all the ingredients we needed. Half an hour later we were pigging out on the best burger any of us have ever tasted so far. Please, make these burgers at least once before you die. They are not the cheapest to make, but holy moly is it worth it.

The Olé Burger
4 thin slices of serrano ham (we used black forest ham)

Saffron Mayo
1/4 tsp crumbled saffron threads
1 tbsp warm water
1/2 cup mayonnaise

3/4 lb uncured (raw) chorizo sausage
3/4lb ground pork or chicken (we used chicken)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1/4 tsp each kosher salt and black pepper
3oz (90g) Manchego cheese, thinly sliced
4 onion buns (we used one-buns)
washed and dried Boston lettuce leaves (we used spinach)
2/3 cups drained sliced roasted peppers

1. Preheat oven to 400
2. Lay ham slices in a single layer on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Place a second piece of parchment paper over ham and top with a second baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes until ham is crisp. Let cool on a wire rack set over a plate.
3. In a medium bowl, sprinkle saffron over warm water. Let stand for 15 minutes. Stir in mayonnaise until well combined.
4. Slit sausage skins and crumble sausage meat into a large bowl. Add ground pork, parsley, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper, and mix gently but thoroughly until well combined. Form sausage mixture into 4 even-size patties about 1/2 inch thick. With the heel of your hand, make an indentation in centre of each patty (this helps burgers cook more evenly).
5. Preheat barbecue to medium.
6. Cook patties on well-oiled grill for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once. Just before burgers are ready, top each burger with one-quarter of Mancego cheese. Split onion buns in half horizontally and toast, cut-side down, until golden.
7. Spread bottom halves of buns with saffron mayo. Top with Boston lettuce leaves. Add a burger to each bun, along with roasted peppers and a slice of serrano ham. Replace tops of buns.

Things are slowly getting checked off my list of things that need to be completed this summer. Though there are so many more to do, I am confident it will all be wonderful.

I love you and miss you,


  1. Sal, it's almost 2am and I am reading back into your posts, along with Jess'. And I must say, I am drooling at this one and only wishing I were actually asleep and HADN'T seen it! This looks zoo yummy! -Robin

  2. ...and by 'zoo' I of course mean, "soo" HA! (Did you know there was an auto correct in this blog commenting box and changed it to silly!) - Robin