Wine Varietal: Gewurztraminer
Japanese food is my ultimate favorite food and inspires me to create recipes reflecting passion for its flavors and textures. These burgers are inspired by negimaki, a marinated grilled beef and green onion dish.They go Mega by also including flavors and items often found on my favorite burgers after taking a trip through a Japanese pantry. Sweet teriyaki sauce glazes smoky bacon; a sweet & spicy miso sauce glazes earthy shiitake mushrooms; cucumber and daikon are ingredients found in sunomono, a vinegary salad. They get a bright finish with fresh citrusy shiso leaves. Mega Negimaki indeed!
12 strips hickory-smoked bacon (artisan preferred)
1/2 cup quality thick-style prepared teriyaki sauce
1/3 cup sliced fresh green onion
2 tablespoons ponzu soy sauce (soy sauce with citrus)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, including juices
2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon togarashi (Japanese 7-spice chile powder)
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/2 pounds freshly ground beef chuck
1 1/2 cups matchstick peeled daikon radish
36 thin slices fresh cucumber, peeled if waxed (about 1/2 medium-sized cuke)
1/3 cup sliced fresh green onion
1/4 cup unseasoned natural rice vinegar
Spicy Sesame-Miso Mushrooms:
2 tablespoons white miso
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons cooking sherry
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon togarashi
3 tablespoons roasted peanut oil
1/2 pound sliced fresh shiitake mushroom caps (no stems)
24 green onions, trimmed with 2 inches of green portion remaining
Vegetable oil, for brushing the green onion and the grill rack
6 bakery Vienna burger rolls, split (egg-wash-glazed, with a slightly crisped crust and a soft, tender interior)
6 fresh shiso leaves, thinly sliced (chiffonade)
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat.
To make the bacon, place bacon strips in a large fireproof skillet and cook on the grill rack, or on the side burner over medium-high heat, for 5 to 6 minutes or until bacon starts to crisp. Using tongs, turn bacon slices over. When bacon is almost fully crisp, using a silicon basting brush or small spoon, evenly spread slices with teriyaki sauce and cook until bacon is crisp and sauce is caramelized. Transfer bacon to a plate, sauce side up, cool slightly, cut slices in half crosswise and set aside.
Meanwhile, to make the patties, in a small bowl, mix together green onion, soy sauce, ginger, pepper, togarashi and salt. Spread the ground chuck out in a large shallow pan and, handling the meat as little as possible, evenly mix green onion mixture into meat. Shape into 6 equal patties sized to fit the rolls. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to grill.
To make the salad, in a large bowl, mix together daikon, cucumber, green onion and vinegar and toss to coat evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to assemble burgers.
To make the mushrooms, in a small bowl, mix together miso, mirin, sherry, sesame oil and togarashi. Heat the peanut oil in a large fire proof skillet on the grill rack or side burner over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are tender. Stir in the reserved miso mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from grill, cover and keep warm.
To make the green onions, lightly brush each with vegetable oil. Place onions across the grate of grill rack and cook, uncovered, for 4 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally, until nicely blistered and charred. Remove from heat, chop into bite-sized pieces and tent with foil.
To grill the patties, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill rack, cover and cook, turning once, until cooked to preference, 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, add 4 bacon slice halves to each burger and place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.
To assemble the burgers, on each roll bottom, place an equal portion of mushrooms and then green onions, followed by a bacon-topped patty and then an equal portion of cucumber-daikon salad. Sprinkle salad evenly with shiso leaves, add the roll tops and serve with napkins and a big ‘ol smile. Kampai! (Cheers in Japanese!) Makes 6 burgers.