From Danielle Oron, the creator of the hugely popular, New York Times-featured, Food52 Genius Recipes status Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies, comes her second cookbook, Food You Love But Different.
This one-of-a-kind cookbook is Danielle’s love letter to her favorite foods: the easy, comforting ones that we all go to time and time again. But now, better. Yes, you can have your mac & cheese, but try it with Boursin Pepper cheese and you’ll feel like you’ve reinvented the wheel. Nobody is going to say “no” to a cheeseburger when you add in some secret spices and pick the right type of beef. And who would have thought that fried rice could be livened up with just curry and some coconut milk?
Covering your every need, from breakfast and lunch to dinner and desserts, never again will you waste all your time in the kitchen only to have a meh meal. These are the dishes you love with some incredible― but easy―changes to keep them exciting. Consider your meals (and sanity) saved.
Makes 2 half sandwiches
I once had an amazing folded cheeseburger in New York City from a spot called Miznon. The Israeli chef who owns it, Eyal Shani, is simply a culinary genius. This burger is inspired by the folded cheeseburger at Miznon . . . and the Big Mac. You read that correctly. A burger is not something to be messed with. I’m not a fan of a million toppings ranging from onion rings to whole grilled cheeses. I just barely accept bacon on my burger (unless it’s the Bacon King from Burger King . . . I have a fast-food problem). Keep it simple, stupid. Meat, onions, pickles, lettuce (only shredded iceberg, none of that romaine crap), and a version of a special sauce.
The key to this burger is the technique. The patty is extra thin, which allows for more surface area to brown and crisp. Now, here’s some bad news: Unless you have multiple griddles, or four big cast-iron skillets, you’re going to have trouble making this for a crowd. The burgers are 8 inches (21 cm) wide before folding, so if you’re planning on making this for you and your boo, you’ll be able to swing it. Don’t try making eight of these for all your friends, otherwise you’re going to have to make them in batches (see first tip). This recipe is so good that I’m not even sorry for it.
2⁄3 lb (303 g) ground chuck (20% fat)
2 tbsp (28 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 slices soft sandwich bread, such as potato bread or straight-up Wonder Bread
1⁄4 tsp ground cumin
Freshly ground black pepper
4 slices American cheese
Red onions, sliced paper thin on a mandoline
Finely shredded iceberg lettuce Bread-and-butter pickle slices
Divide the meat into 2 equal parts and do not ball up; leave it loose. Place 1 portion on the bottom half of a large sheet of parchment paper, fold the parchment in half and roll out the meat to 1⁄4 inch (6 mm) thick and about 8 inches (21 cm) in diameter. Do the same with thother portion, keeping them in the parchment until ready to cook.
Heat a cast-iron griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Spread the butter on one of the bread slices and toast, butter side down, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Do not toast the other side.
Slice the bread in half on the diagonal. Dress the side that has not been toasted with a bit of mayo, ketchup and mustard. A little goes a long way with each.
Season the beef patties with a sprinkle of cumin, lots of kosher salt and pepper. Working in batches if needed, place the patties on the griddle, seasoned side down, and give each a little press with a spatula. Season the other side with a bit more cumin, salt and pepper. Cook, undisturbed, until the outer edges are browned and the meat has basically cooked through to the top, about 3 minutes. There may be some redness left, but the residual heat will take care of that after you fold it. Place 2 slices of American cheese on half of each patty and fold the patty in half. Transfer each folded patty to the bread and top with onions, lettuce and pickles. Close the sandwich and eat immediately.
Okay, fine, get a pound (455 g) of ground chuck and make the burgers 1⁄4 pound (about 115 g) each. You’ll have four bitties and more servings. Roll them out to 1⁄4 inch (6 mm) thick still.
Have the toppings ready to go before you start cooking the burgers.
Use your recipe for special sauce here, but I’m too lazy and just squirt each condiment straight onto the bread.
Reprinted with permission from Food You Love But Different by Danielle Oron, Page Street Publishing Co., 2019.