Barbara’s secret: blue cheese

By Barbara Gower, Catering by Barbara

With an excess of 500 cookbooks at my fingertips, I perused my shelves in search of the “ultimate hamburger.” Hmmmm… there is virtually no difference from recipe to recipe. Ground chuck, some sirloin, salt and pepper. Whew! That’s it. Dressing your burger, now that’s a different story. Every restaurant has their way of doing it; it’s the chef’s preference. The standard rule for most restaurants is bun, sliced tomato, sliced onion, and lettuce sided with condiments like ketchup, mustard, and relish or pickle. But let’s face it, the options for toppings are endless.

Barbara’s Favourite Burger
By Barbara Gower, Catering by Barbara.
Serves 4

3 tbsp blue cheese, room temperature
1 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp finely chopped parsley
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 lbs ground chuck, cold
1 tsp salt (a bit more if using kosher salt)

Mash the blue cheese and butter together to form a smooth but slightly chunky paste. Add parsley and pepper and mix until combined. Place mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap and using the wrap as a guide, form into a short, stocky cylinder. Place in the freezer until firm. (This compound butter can be made up to a month in advance and kept in the freezer.)
Gently mix the ground chuck with salt and freshly ground pepper with a wooden spoon until the seasoning is thoroughly incorporated. Divide the meat into four even portions and form these into flat rounds using your thumb to help form a perfect edge. Scoop a portion of the meat out of the centre of each burger and place a flat disc of blue butter into the depression. Cover the butter with the scooped out meat and press firmly to ensure that the butter is completely encased.

Prepare the grill

Clean, oil and preheat your grill to medium high. If using a charcoal grill, ashy coals are ready when you can hold your hand over the grill for three to four seconds. As your burgers are cooking, do not press them with your spatula or you are going to press all of the natural juices out of them and they’ll end up dry shrunken hunks of beef; that’s never a good thing.
Grill for four minutes per side for rare or up to ten minutes per side for well done.
What am I serving with mine? Thinly sliced Vidalia onion (sweet onion), low-fat mayo and Keen’s hot mustard, dill pickle on the side. Surf’s up – let’s eat!

Barbara Gower operates Catering by Barbara, a custom catering, banquet facility and special events service at 12 Ontario Street South in Grand Bend. Barbara can be reached at (519) 238-8489.