Is this really it? Thirty-one days of burger-influenced gluttony are finally over. I am both saddened and elated to be done with this thing. I think I will not do a month-long food celebration for a long time, no matter how wonderful the food I wish to celebrate is. On the other hand, the past month has been a good time. It's really funny how community formed around little round patties of chopped stuff, even if people didn't particularly like little round patties of chopped stuff.
For my last burger of the month, I wanted to do the most indulgent burger I could do. I figured that I would try to replicate Daniel Boulud's extravagant burgers, but from the outset, these were impossibilities. Boulud makes a burger with Kobe wagyu beef, braised shortribs, truffle and foie gras. I cannot get wagyu beef easily, and I do not want to spend $75 for 2 ounces of black truffle. So instead of doing an exact replica, I tried to incorporate whatever I could.
My burgers were made with grass-fed organic sirloin that I milled myself. These were seasoned simply with salt and pepper and grilled to medium. I topped each burger with foie gras, which I seared on a griddle to get the juices running. On top of this, I placed some sliced shiitake mushrooms which I stir-fried in truffle oil (which were my closest substitutes for real truffles). Finally, I shaved some gruyere over the whole works.
The mushrooms and foie gras definitely gave the burgers added depth and richness. The burgers, unfortunately, were underseasoned (I could've sworn I salted the bejeezus out of them). But in the end, the flavors worked pretty well together.
I think that with these foie gras burgers I came full-circle with this whole burger challenge. I started with those delicious James Beard burgers that I thought were the very essence of burger. I didn't know I'd blog the whole thing the way I had. Along the way, we departed from our predefined calendar and with the help of enterprising grill-partners, turned out some pretty wacky burgers. This evening's burgers were very much like those first ones I made, but dressed up some. The sirloin was as simple as those first, James Beard burgers were. The foie gras and the shiitake did not take away from the essential meat.
I don't think I can look at burgers the same way again-- certainly not after 31 days of minced meat (with some potatoes and tofu thrown in). But finally I can now cook something else for dinner.
Yesterday, I went to the nearest In-n-Out Burger joint. My guests wanted to try them out as they didn't have In-n-Out in New York. So I obliged, despite saying that I wouldn't touch burgers again for the foreseeable future, having just done thirty-one days of them. I ordered what I used to order at In-n-Out: a cheeseburger animal style with fries well done. Back before my burger endeavor, I used to think that In-n-Outs were terrific burgers. But yesterday I was astonished at how mediocre they are. In-n-Out is just another fast food burger.