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How-To

A Burger with a Twist

Spread on a zesty South American sauce and swap the bun for a pita pocket

Fine Cooking Issue 73
Photo: Scott Phillips
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A classic burger is pretty hard to beat, but sometimes you just want more. In which case, the burger here, seasoned with jalapeño, onions, and garlic, served in a pita, and topped with chimichurri sauce (instead of the classic ketchup), is a spirited alternative. Chimichurri—a tangy herb and garlic sauce from Argentina—is often served with grilled meats, and I’ve discovered that it works wonders on a burger, too.

I cook my burgers in a cast-iron pan, which gives a delicious, nicely seared crust. For the meat, I like ground round with 15% fat content. It gives the burger a juicy flavor, but without leaving behind a moat of fat in the pan to smoke up the kitchen and adjoining rooms. (Of course, you can grill these burgers, and if you do, I recommend using ground chuck with as much as 20% fat.) I also switch to pita bread instead of the usual roll for a change of pace and to help accommodate an ample helping ofchimichurri.

While this burger won’t come together quite as quickly as a basic one, the few extra touches are well worth the time. Sautéing the onion and garlic before adding them to the meat makes for more integrated flavor, as well as a better consistency in the burger. The chimichurri adds intense flavor, and if there’s any left over, it’s perfect on grilled vegetables, steak, fish, or chicken. What we have is beyond your basic burger, but it’s a keeper, especially for those times when you want something jazzy and new.

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