Blackened Oyster Rockefeller Burgers
1 small bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon dried sweet basil leaves
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon finely chopped celery
3 medium fresh shucked oysters
1 small egg
1¼ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce
Warm Spinach Salad:
12 strips applewood bacon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon salt
8 ounces white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 6 ounce bag baby spinach leaves
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 pounds ground beef chuck
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
6 1 ounce slices fontina cheese
Vegetable oil for brushing on the grill grates
6 kaiser rolls, split
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat grill to medium.
To make mayonnaise, combine bay leaf, salt, mustard, pepper and basil in a small bowl. Set aside.
Melt butter on the grill, in a small fire-proof skillet over direct heat. Add shallots and celery and saute 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add seasonings and oysters. Cook for 5 minutes more, frequently stirring, until oysters are cooked through. Remove from heat. Discard bay leaf. Let cool 15 minutes.
Place mixture in food processor or blender with the egg. Blend 30 seconds. With the machine still running, add the oil in a thin, steady stream. Add the lemon and hot sauce. Blend until mixture is smooth and thick, scraping down sides a time or two with a rubber spatula. Refrigerate until ready to assemble burgers.
Over direct medium heat, in a large fire-proof skillet, cook bacon until just crispy, about 4-5 minutes. Remove to a paper towel to drain and reserve. Remove 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings and set aside for dressing. Wipe skillet clean with paper towel.
Add one tablespoon of the butter, onions and salt to same skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and caramelized, about 15 minutes. (if onions seem to be browning too quickly, turn down heat a bit). Remove to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Add remaining tablespoon of butter and mushrooms to the skillet and cook until golden brown, 4-5 minutes. Remove to the same bowl as the onions. Add the reserved 3 tablespoons bacon drippings, vinegar and sugar to the skillet. Whisk together until heated thoroughly. Set aside and keep warm at edge of grill until ready to combine spinach salad.
Raise heat of grill to high.
Combine paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, sugar, black pepper, cayenne and nutmeg in a small bowl and set aside. Handling the meat as little as possible, mix the worcestershire and soy sauces into the ground beef and form into six patties, leaving a slight indentation in the middle of each patty. Brush patties with the melted butter and coat with the seasoning mixture, rubbing it onto the burger. When grill is ready, brush grill rack with the vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill and grill 5 minutes, until a crispy, charred crust develops. Turn the burgers over and continue cooking to medium, about 4 to 5 minutes longer, topping with the fontina cheese slices to melt in the last 1 to 2 minutes. Patties should have a crusty char on the outside and remain juicy on the inside. Remove to plate, loosely tent with foil and let rest while grilling buns and combining spinach slaw.
Add the spinach and warm dressing to the bowl containing the onions and mushrooms. Toss until combined and spinach is wilted.
Lower heat of grill to low. Brush cut sides of the buns with the olive oil. Grill 2 to 3 minutes until light golden brown.
To assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of the oyster mayonnaise over the cut sides of the rolls. Place a patty on each roll bottom and top with 2 bacon strips and some of the salad. Add roll tops and serve.