May is National Barbecue Month but since America is a country of grill-crazy people anyway, is it possible to single out just one month for this favored pastime? Perhaps, the anointing of May as the official barbeque month indicates that we should forego our indoor kitchens for the entire month and take the challenge to cook every meal on the grill.
May is also National Hamburger Month, National Salad Month, and National Bike Month (among other silly things too obscure to mention here). In honor of the first two, here are a couple of tasty recipes to help you celebrate.
P.S. With regard to National Bike Month, biking is an Outdoorlicious! activity and very healthy. After all of the May barbequing we will be doing, indulging in delicious, low-cal salads may not be enough to keep those extra pounds off. A long bike ride is probably just what we will need. The featured Hamburger Recipe is something special that may make you take biking more seriously.
Ingredients: Yield 4 Servings
- 1 1/4 pounds lean ground chuck
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 portobello mushrooms, stems trimmed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 4 (4-inch) square or round ciabatta or foccacia squares, halved horizontally
- 2 cups fresh arugula
- Combine the ground chuck, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
- Shape the mixture into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) patties.
- Lightly drizzle both sides of the mushrooms with the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Mix the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and garlic in a small bowl to blend. (The patties, mushrooms, and garlic mayonnaise can be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead. Cover them separately and refrigerate.)
- Prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill the burgers until cooked to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.
- Grill the mushrooms until just tender, about 5 minutes per side.
- Grill the focaccia squares cut side down, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.
- Spread the garlic mayonnaise over the roll bottoms.
- Cut the mushrooms into strips and arrange the mushroom strips over the mayonnaise.
- Place the burgers atop the mushrooms.
- Spread garlic mayonnaise on the cut side of the tops and arrange a handful of arugula on each. the burger with the roll tops and serve.
This salad recipe is one of my favorites and will be a great side to go with the burgers. It takes a little time, but it’s well worth it. If you have a side burner on your grill, you can prepare it outside.
Recipe courtesy Ryan Hardy – Food and Wine Magazine
- 2 cups pecans
- ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 oz. thinly sliced pancetta, finely diced
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons caper brine (from a jar of capers)
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Granny Smith apples, cut into matchsticks
- 1 large head radicchio, shredded
- 1 (8oz) bunch kale, stems discarded, finely shredded
- 3 tablespoons snipped chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
- 2 oz. shaved pecorino
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a bowl, cover pecans with water. Transfer to a sieve and shake out the water.
- In another bowl, whisk confectioner’s sugar, cayenne, and 1 ½ teaspoons of salt.
- Add pecans and toss. Transfer to a sieve and shake off excess coating.
- Arrange pecans on parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until the sugar is lightly caramelized and the pecans are lightly golden.
- In a skillet, heat oil with pancetta and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently until pancetta is browned (6 minutes).
- Strain pan drippings into a large bowl; whisk in the vinegar, caper brine, and maple syrup and season the dressing with salt and black pepper.
- Add apples, radicchio, kale, chives, tarragon and pecorino and toss.
- Mound salad on plates and garnish with pecans and pancetta.