The Caesar Burger

makes 4 burgers

Prepping these burgers ahead is super cinchy: Make the caesar dressing and frico mixture up to 3 days in advance. Form the anchovy-garlic patties up to 2 days ahead of time. (Let sit outside of the fridge for an hour before cooking.) Day-of, you’ll just have to fire off burgers and slice some onions, basically. If you want to scale the recipe up to serve more, go for it! You’ll just have to cook in batches. Want to cook outdoors? Use your grill as you would your stovetop: Preheat your cast iron skillet on the grill grates for a solid 5-7 minutes. To determine if the skillet is hot enough, look for slight billows of smoke when you add the vegetable oil to your skillet before adding the patties.

Active Time: 45 Mins

Total Time: 1 hr

Screenshot 2024-06-28 at 6.28.14 PM

Produce

  • 1 white onion
  • 2 large heads (about 8-10 ounces) little gem lettuce or hearts of romaine
  • 6 large cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon

Pantry

  • 1 4-oz jar of anchovies
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 4 brioche buns
  • 16 dill pickle chips

Dairy

  • 4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano

Protein

  • 1 ½ pounds (80% lean) ground beef

1. Do some prep:

  • Using a microplane, finely grate 4 ounces (2 ½ lightly packed cups)  Parmigiano-Reggiano into a bowl. If it’s warm in your kitchen, transfer to the fridge. Note: this works best with microplaned parm so avoid the pre-grated stuff if you can.
  • Very thinly slice one white onion crosswise into rings and transfer to the fridge. (If you have a mandoline, now’s the time to put it to work.)
  • Thinly slice 2 large heads baby gem lettuce crosswise into shreds. Keep chilled.

2. Make the anchovy paste and dressing:

  • Finely grate 6 large cloves garlic directly onto a cutting board. Place about 15 anchovies on the board with the garlic. (The remaining anchovies will be used as burger topping!) Using two forks, mash the two together until a smooth paste is formed.
  • Transfer 2 teaspoons of the paste to a large bowl (reserve all the remaining paste for seasoning the patties), along with ½ cup mayonnaise, ⅓ cup Dijon mustard, the finely grated zest of 1 lemon, and the juice of half a lemon. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Now season again with more pepper– the dressing warrants a lot! Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to toss with the baby gems.

3. Make the anchovy-garlic patties:

  • Place 1 ½ lbs of ground beef into a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and a healthy dose of freshly ground black pepper. Dot the beef with half of the anchovy paste in little dime-sized pockets. Give the beef a very light mixing with your hands, add the remaining paste in the same manner (dotting it), and mix gently once more–goal here is to retain little pockets of choves.
  • Divide the meat mixture into four equal portions (6½ oz each). Flatten the portions into roughly-shaped rounds on a work surface, slightly larger than the size of your palm. Divide 1 oz parm (about ½ cup, lightly packed) amongst the patties, into the center of each round. Enclose the cheese in the patties and re-flatten into 4-inch rounds, approximately ¾-inch high. You can do this with your hands, of course, but using the lid of a classic deli container is a helpful tool for making uniform patties: Place each portion of meat on top of the lid, lightly and evenly pressing the meat to the edges.
  • To the remaining 4 ounces of grated cheese, add a heaping tablespoon of all-purpose flour and toss with a fork to combine. (This will become your frico mixture.)

4. Fire the burgers!!!:

  • Toast or grill 4 brioche buns as you wish: under the broiler in your oven, on the grill, or in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Preheat one large cast iron skillet over high heat for three minutes. You will cook in two batches, but can also cook simultaneously if you have 2 large (10-12”) skillets.
    Make sure the bowl of parm with the flour is at the ready!
  • Add about a teaspoon vegetable oil to the skillet and swirl to coat–you should see wisps of smoke emanating from the skillet, If not, preheat longer. Add the patties and cook, undisturbed, for 2 ½ minutes, until well seared on the undersides. (The burgers should be sizzling vigorously; if they’re not, increase the heat.) Set a timer! Flip, and continue to cook until burgers register 120 degrees on the interior for medium-rare, 2 minutes more.
  • FRICO IT UP: Turn off heat, and immediately top each burger with a big ol’ pile of the parm-flour mixture, dividing it evenly among the patties, letting the majority fall around the edges of the patties themselves. Cook until the cheese turns ever so slightly golden brown, about 20-30 seconds. Using a thin metal spatula, loosen the frico from the surface of the skillet and flip the patties, frico and all, and cook 15 seconds longer. Transfer the patties to a baking sheet, don’t worry if the frico detaches from the patties at any point, it’s all going to the same place, you’ll just pile the frico right on top when you assemble the burgers.

5. Assemble:

  • Spread the buns with about 1 tablespoon of the caesar dressing per side.
  • Toss the remaining dressing with the sliced baby gems and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pile the lettuce on the bottom buns.
  • Place patties on top of lettuce, top each with a couple more anchovy filets, some white onion, and several pickles. Enjoy!!!

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