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Heart Mountain Burgers with Pickled Onions

While an Asian-flavored burger is not what one thinks of when thinking about Montana, I nevertheless wanted to honor the 11,000 Japanese-Americans who were interred at The Heart Mountain Relocation Center, not too far, across the border into Wyoming, from where I live. I also discovered last year during the Centennial Celebration of my small town in Montana, that the town rose up during World War II, and prevented the one Japanese-American who lived here, from being relocated. I hope this delicious burger in some small way honors the sacrifices of these Japanese-Americans.

Ingredients 

For Pickled Onions:
1 cup sushi vinegar
1 / 2 cup water
1/3 cup Sutter Home Gewurtztraminer
1 star anise pod
1 / 4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated, fresh ginger
2 red onions, sliced

Burgers:
1-1 / 2 pounds freshly ground chuck
5 spring onions, chopped, including green tops
3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
1 tablespoon grated fresh gingerroot
1 cup toasted sesame seeds
1 / 3 cup Nori Komi Furikake (found in Asian section of stores, or substitute the same amount of chopped or shredded Nori)
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon dark miso
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1- 1 / 2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Sichuan pepper

6 sesame-topped burger buns, split
About 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Instructions 

Preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make the pickled onions, place all ingredients, except for the onions, in a medium saucepan, and cook ingredients over the grill for 7 to 10 minutes, until reduced by about half. Remove from heat and add onions. Cover loosely and set aside.

To make the burgers, mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, and gently form into six patties.
When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil, and place the patties on the rack. Cover and grill, 5 to 7 minutes each side. During the final few minutes, place the buns on the edge of the rack to toast lightly. Drain the pickled onions.

To assemble the burgers, place burgers on bun bottoms, followed by equal amounts of the drained, pickled onions, and top with bun tops. Makes 6 servings.