Jersey Tomato-Topped Burgers
This burger celebrates the return to farm markets of the old-fashioned Jersey tomato.The most famous and favored Jersey tomato is the Ramapo, developed at Rutgers University in 1968. It has the perfect sweet-tart balance that Jerseyans love and crave. Thankfully, after a twenty year absence, some farmers in the Garden State have brought the Ramapo back to our 2008 markets. For this beefy burger, the sour cream, chives, bacon and horseradish were selected to complement thick, juicy slices of tomato.
6 slices applewood smoked bacon
2 pounds ground chuck
10 tablespoons sour cream, divided use
4 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided use
2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided use
3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided use
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons vegetable oil for brushing the grill rack
6 good quality sandwich buns
12 leaves butter or Bibb lettuce
6 thick slices (1/4-3/8″ thick) ripe Jersey tomato, preferably Ramapo
Preheat gas grill to medium high or prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill.
To cook the bacon, place the strips in a 10 inch, nonstick, fire-proof skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until done. Remove the pan from the heat, drain the bacon on paper towels and wrap in foil.
To make the patties, put the beef, 4 tablespoons sour cream, 2 tablespoons chives, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper into a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible, mix well and form into 6 patties that fit the size of the buns. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
To make the sauce, in a small bowl whisk together 6 tablespoons sour cream, mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons chives, horseradish, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
When the grill is ready, brush the rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill and cook for 4-6 minutes per side, turning only once. Place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill to toast for about 1 minute.
To assemble the burgers, lay 2 lettuce leaves on the bottom half of each bun, followed by a pattie, a tomato slice, a slice of bacon and an equal distribution of sauce. Add a bun top to each burger and serve.