As the final entry of a series on perfecting homemade burgers, this one will focus on burger toppings and bread selection. If you missed either two of my previous columns on meat selection, or ingredients to add to the burger mix, please email me at email@example.com, and I will be more than happy to send them to you.
When building a burger from scratch, many people will tend to be scant with the toppings in order to minimize the amount of prep, but they're missing the best opportunity to complement the patty that they proudly created. Going without complementary toppings is like having mashed potatoes without the gravy, or apple pie without the ice cream.
Mayo, mustard, relish and ketchup are obvious additions. A classic, but essential way to also top any burger would be with the traditional lettuce, tomato and cheese, but there any many others to consider: bacon, onion (fresh or sautéed), pickles, etc. The main thing to remember that when adding vegetables (such as lettuce and tomato), make sure you season them with salt and pepper - this one step will dramatically enhance the flavour of your finished burger.
The toppings don't have to stop there. There are countless others that could crown your masterpiece They could be hot sauces, ethnic sauces, different types of mustards, salad dressings, dips, spreads, olives, sundried tomatoes and an assortment of cheeses, for example.
The type of bread/bun you choose could be based on a number of factors. Maybe you are creating a burger of a certain ethnic cuisine, such as an Italian burger; then I would use a type of Italian bread, like a ciabatta bun, for example.
Or perhaps your burgers are quite messy because they are dripping with toppings; then I suggest a denser type bread/bun to help make it more firm when it comes to eating the burger. Try to stay away from the plain, generic, small white burger buns.
Also, toasting the bread/ buns on the grill always adds more texture/flavour to your finished burger; brush lightly with oil and put directly on the grates of your barbecue until lightly charred and toasted.
One last note, always melt the cheese onto the burger patty during the last part of the cooking time, if using a melt-able cheese. Melted gooey cheese is more appealing not only in taste but in presentation.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or see www.chefdez.com for more.