Donald Link of Herbsaint in New Orleans got the inspiration for this richly flavored homemade sausage burger from Cajun and Creole cooking and its prodigious use of tomatoes and green peppers. Here, Link substitutes chile peppers for the usual bell peppers to add heat to the burger.
All-Time Favorite Burgers
2 1/2 pounds ground pork
2 tablespoons minced garlic, plus 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
5 large fresh Anaheim chiles
1 large poblano chile
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
6 ounces Gruyère or Italian Fontina cheese, cut into 6 slices about 1/4 inch
6 ciabatta or kaiser rolls, split and lightly toasted
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole-grain or Dijon mustard
2 cups arugula leaves
1 large Creole tomato (see Note) or beefsteak tomato, cut into 6 slices
How to Make It
In a large bowl, gently mix the ground pork with the minced garlic, balsamic vinegar, crushed red pepper, thyme, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and 2 teaspoons of black pepper. Pat the meat into 6 burgers, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Light a grill. Grill the Anaheim and poblano chiles over a hot fire, turning, until charred all over. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let steam for 10 minutes. Peel, stem and seed the chiles, then cut them into long, thin strips. Transfer the chiles to a bowl and add the olive oil, rosemary and sliced garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
Grill the burgers over a hot fire until just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. About 1 minute before the burgers are done, place a slice of cheese on each burger.
Spread the bottom half of each roll with 1 tablespoon of mustard. Top with the arugula and a tomato slice. Set the burgers on the tomato slices and cover with the marinated chiles. Close the sandwiches and serve.
The uncooked burgers and marinated chiles can be refrigerated overnight.
Creole tomatoes are a large, juicy, bright red variety of tomato grown in the hot and humid Mississippi Delta region of Louisiana. These tomatoes have a lower acid content and meatier texture than most other tomatoes.
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