Cubanesque Croque Monsieur Burgers
Pickled Red Onions:
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1/2 pound pancetta, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 cup coarse brown mustard
1/3 cup black currant 100 percent fruit spread
French Toast Rolls:
6 Bolillo rolls
5 large eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream
Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack
6 slices Gruyere cheese
6 thin slices Black Forest ham
6 tablespoons coarse brown mustard
6 tablespoons black currant 100 percent fruit spread
In a non-reactive, medium mixing bowl, stir together the red onions, white wine vinegar, kosher salt, and honey. Leave at room temperature for twenty minutes to an hour. Prior to grilling the burgers, thoroughly drain the onions.
In a large mixing bowl use your hands to fold together the ground chuck, finely chopped pancetta, kosher salt, sweet smoked paprika, ground white pepper, coarse brown mustard, and black currant fruit spread. Divide the meat mixture into sixths and shape each into an oblong patty that will fit the bun. Cover patties with wax paper and refrigerate until ready to grill.
Preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Split the Bolillo rolls horizontally. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and heavy cream, then pour the mixture into a shallow plate or pie tin to dip the rolls. Dip the cut sides of each roll into the egg batter for about 30 seconds, then transfer to a plate. Discard any excess egg. Brush the grill with vegetable oil, then place the dipped, cut sides of the rolls onto the grill. Grill just until lightly browned, 2-4 minutes, then flip and lightly brown the uncut sides of the rolls. Transfer to a platter and tent with foil.
Brush the grill with additional oil, if needed, and place the burgers on the grill. Cover the grill and cook the burgers until desired degree of pink remains, about 5-6 minutes per side. During the last few minutes of cooking time, place the cheese slices on the burgers and place the ham slices directly on the grill. Grill the ham just until heated through, about one minute per side, then arrange a slice over the top of each cheese slice.
To assemble, spread a tablespoon of coarse brown mustard on the cut side of the roll tops, and a tablespoon of black currant spread on the roll bottoms. Top with a burger patty with ham and cheese, then a good portion of the pickled onions. Press down the bun tops to “seal” the onions, place sandwich toothpicks to secure the halves, and slice each burger in half. Serve immediately. Makes six delicious, messy burgers.