One of my favorite things about summertime is that America officially enters the most wonderful time of the year, burger season. To be honest there was a very dark phase in my life when I was completely over burgers. Everywhere I went it was just the same classic burger with the same toppings. Even though the burger in its most humble form is delicious, I had enough.
My love for the burger truly blossomed after I moved from South Carolina to Chicago to start college. I don’t know how many of you have experienced the Chicago food scene, but first and foremost in it is endless gourmet burgers. Seeing people put everything from Hawaiian loco moco, nacho fixings, even fried chicken on a burger taught me that this American cookout classic is one of the best culinary blank canvases known to man.
But enough about my torrid affair with the cheeseburger, now to talk about my mushroom swiss burger. The first thing I can think about when biting into it is how ridiculously earthy the flavors are. Growing up every fast food chain I went to with mushroom swiss had mushrooms that were adequately cooked, but had zero seasoning. I top this burger with mushrooms that are sauteed with garlic, fresh thyme, balsamic vinegar, and dry sherry to create a sweet and herby flavor bomb. Then on top of that is an aioli, flavored mayonnaise, made with freshly roasted garlic. The roasted garlic offers a mild sweetness that blends well with the mushrooms and the mayo adds a nice twang that allows the sauce to distinguish itself from the rest of the burger. And one of the best things about this recipe aside from the dynamite flavors is that I can take all the leftover mushrooms and aioli to make one killer grilled cheese for tomorrow’s lunch.
Cooking this burger is definitely a three act show, so I’m dividing the recipe into the three parts in the order you should make them so that the whole sandwich can come together with ease.
Roasted Garlic Aioli:
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Remove the excess skin from the garlic and cut the tip off so that all the cloves are exposed. Cover the top of the exposed garlic with the olive oil, wrap it in foil, and place it in the oven between 35-55 minutes. The garlic should be a deep golden brown. Give the garlic about 10 minutes to cool so you can handle it. When the garlic is cooled squeeze it out of the head into a bowl, yes it comes out that easy. Add the mayonnaise and soy sauce and mix it all up. Boom, aioli.
- 8-10 ounces of sliced baby bella/cremini mushrooms
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 5 strands of fresh thyme, tied in a bundle for your convenience
- 1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
Start by getting your oil nice and hot in a sautee pan over medium high heat. Throw the mushrooms in and let them cook until they start to brown and lose their moisture, about five minutes making sure to toss them around regularly. Add the garlic and thyme and give them about one to two minutes so the garlic can brown. After that add the balsamic vinegar and sherry. Let the alcohol burn off and then turn the heat to low so the liquids can simmer and reduce. Add salt and pepper to taste. After adding the liquids to the mushrooms it’s time to start cooking the burger patty. The liquid reducing should only take a few minutes so make sure you keep an eye on this pan as well as your burger and turn the heat off when they look done.
- 1 pound of ground beef
- enough slices of swiss cheese so that each burger gets a slice
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- salt and pepper
Start off by forming your patty. The key to a good burger patty is not overworking your meat. You want to form your patty with as little rolling, pressing, and general touching as possible. Make sure to add a little pat of butter in the middle of each patty, about 1/4 tablespoon per burger is enough. This will make your patty extra juicy. Liberally cover your patty in salt and pepper. You seriously want to get a lot of seasoning on both sides of the burger. Heat the oil over high heat in a large pan and when that pan is screaming hot add the burgers. Cook the burgers on their first side for about 4-5 minutes. Flip the burger. After that burger is flipped don’t you dare touch it again until you are going to put the patty on the bun. Do not flip it again, do not press it, nothing. All that extra fussing only serves to dry out your burger or potentially cause it to fall apart. Once the patty is settled in on the second side gently blanket each patty with a slice of swiss cheese. Let the meat cook for about 3-5 minutes depending on how cooked you like the inside of your burger to be.
Now for the assembly:
Transfer your cheese covered patty to a nice toasted bun. If you have any other toppings you just have to have on your burgers like tomatoes or onions add them now. This time I went with baby spinach. Then pile up those sweet, sweet mushrooms. On your top bun give a generous smear of the roasted garlic aioli. Outside of telling you how to prepare this burger I’m not the boss of you, so have whatever your favorite burger accompaniment is on the side. I decided to take it easy on the side and just have my favorite potato chips and a vodka lemonade to give the meal that extra feel of summertime.