S: The one thing I learned when studying abroad is how important a good burger is to me. And I am not joking. From my experiences, the majority of Europeans think all Americans do is eat McDonald’s aka burgers and fries. “Not true” I demanded when yet another European mentioned the connotation of America and obesity. I, above many others, fight for America’s creativity and beauty when it comes to food. How we really are a “melting pot” and with that, comes an infinite amount of cultures and flavors, and thus food. But yet, as I continued to eat the same European dishes over and over (think caprese and Margherita pizza), I realized how much I missed a good freaking burger. Not a fast food burger, I’m talking fresh-off-the-BBQ with that extra bit of char, still hear it sizzling, cheese melted on top, stacked with fresh summer veggies so big you can hardly fit your mouth around it burger.
Once you get past your standard BLT, the different kinds of burgers are endless. Lucky enough, summer is the PERFECT time to experiment with all sorts of combinations. Go to your local farmer’s market and pick out what’s in season: greens, fruits, pickled veggies, local cheese and jam, and get to burger-making.
This Market Monday I wanted to highlight a few amazing farmers that when put together, make the ultimate summer burger:
I just recently discovered the glory that is Glendale Shepherd, a local family owned and operated Grade A dairy farm on Whidbey Island, committed to sustainable agriculture practices and the production of fine sheep milk cheeses and pasture raised lamb. For someone that doesn’t tolerate lactose that well, there is a sweet spot for goat and sheep milk cheese/yogurt and let me tell you, Glendale’s sheep milk yogurt is literally like fluffy tart yogurt heaven. All natural ingredients, no added sugar or preservatives, 100 % creamy love. On par with their yogurt, their cheese is INCREDIBLE. When asking the vendor which cheese was best for melting on a burger, he suggested their Island Brebis, their award-winning flagship cheese, which was all the right kinds of sweetness, nuttiness, herbiness, and deliciousness.
River Run Farm is right at the front of the south entrance of the U-District and was co-founded in 2013 by friends sharing a deep reverence for good food and good living. River Run Farm raises organic vegetables, berries and flowers along the Dungeness River near Sequim, WA and offers fresh, vibrant produce every week at their farm stand. I love not only the organization of their produce, but awesome deals for grouping different high-quality greens like lettuce, spinach, and kale together. For this recipe, we used both their lettuce and Tuscan (lacinato) kale for an epic burger.
4 oz ground bison
2 oz. Island Brebis cheese ( or any hard sheep milk cheese)
1 tbsp of spices (I used the infamous ‘Coke spice‘)
1 oz. avocado
1 red onion
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup of finely chopped lacinato kale from River Run Farm
2 tsp of dijon mustard
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
Himalayan pink sea salt to taste
4 leavesof red leaf lettuce from River Run Farm
1. Wash and dry lettuce leaves.
2. In a medium bowl, thinly slice red onion into a bowl and stir with apple cider vinegar and water so that all onion slices are covered. This will mimic pickled red onions if you don’t have them on hand. Let sit for 20-30 min.
3. Preheat grill.
4. Mix meat with spices in small bowl. Form into a small patty, about 5″ round.
5. When the grill is heated, put the burger on for about 4 min, flipping halfway through.
6. While the burger is grilling, slice cheese into thin squares to melt on the burger.
7. Remove burger from grill when done and lay cheese on top to melt gradually. Put aside.
8. In a small bowl, massage lacinato kale with white balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard. Let sit for 5-10 min. for kale to soften.
9. Without cleaning the grill, slice nectarine into 5-6 slices and grill slices for about 1 minute, just enough for a nice light char on the nectarine slices. Remove from grill.
10. To prepare burger: place two red lettuce leaves on a plate. Place burger on top. Then add pickled red onions, lacinato kale, grilled nectarines and top with sliced avocado.