On the list of foods which american expats living in europe miss, good hamburgers rank somewhere near the top (usually right below Mexican food). Now, you’ll notice that I specified good hamburgers, because bad and mediocre hamburgers are quite easy to find. Here in Frankfurt we have several McDonalds outposts and an “american” restaurant named Chicago Meatpackers, which serves up rubbery gray patties to unsuspecting Germans who no doubt go home confirmed in their belief that all american food is terrible. (And in case any curious locals are reading this, my extensive research into the subject has found very good burgers at O’Reilly’s Irish Pub across the street from the main train station.) Yet, in all my efforts to find a good burger in Frankfurt, it never once occurred to me to make my own. Why is that I wonder? In fact, this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, the Cafe Salle Pleyel Hamburger, is the first burger I have ever made.
According to Dorie, this burger was created by a Paris chef as a french take on the traditional american hamburger. The recipe (published here in the New York Times) starts out with the traditional american basics, a sesame seed bun and dill pickles, but then veers quickly into french territory with an onion marmalade, sun dried tomatoes, capers, cornichons, and tarragon. In fact, I was very much reminded of a classic bistro steak tartar as I was gathering the ingredients for this parisian burger.
Dorie’s burger was easy to put together, just blitz up the add-ins in a food processor and mix them into the meat before forming your patties. As per Dorie’s instructions for medium rare burgers, I cooked mine 3 minutes per side and they came out juicy and flavorful. In fact, the burgers were great, and yet…
It may seem weird to say, but as good as these burgers were, they just didn’t satisfy my expat craving. My husband loved them (but he’s european so…), but it seems that this american is a bit of a purist when it comes to burgers and I found all the extra ingredients to be distracting. In short, Dorie’s is a very good hamburger recipe and I’m glad that I tried it, but it’s unlikely that I will make them again. I guess some recipes simply should not be tinkered with.