The Middle East Meets the Midwest Burger
I am from the Midwest, Metro Detroit to be exact.This part of Michigan is heavily influenced by Middle Eastern culture and cuisine. As a result, Middle Eastern restaurants and ingredients are very plentiful where I live. Ever since a close friend introduced me to this cuisine, I have been absolutely in love with the flavors. When I saw this contest, I immediately imagined how tasty it would be to marry a version of my favorite Middle Eastern salad with my very own classic American burger that my family just loves. I know this is destined to be considered a great local American burger because it captures the essence of a classic American burger with a special, yet simple twist. Did I mention that it is a match made in heaven?
Middle Eastern Salad
3 cups pre-washed romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
9 grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chopped cucumber
1/4 cup chopped red onion
Parsley-Mint Salad Dressing
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
2 small garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons sumac
1/4 cup Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds ground chuck
2 teaspoons Lawry’s seasoned salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 teaspoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, divided
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 good-quality, bakery fresh hamburger rolls, split
1 cup pita chips (preferably Stacy’s Simply Naked brand), broken into bite-sized pieces
Preheat a gas grill to medium-high or prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover.
To make the salad, combine romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion in a large bowl. Set aside.
To make the dressing, combine lemon juice, parsley, mint, garlic, sumac, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl; whisk ingredients. Pour dressing over salad and toss; mix well. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
To make the patties, combine the chuck, seasoned salt, garlic powder, and black pepper in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the rolls. Pour 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce over the center of the top of each patty. Let stand until grill is ready.
When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, tear out some of the soft bread in the center of the tops of each hamburger roll (to accommodate salad), making a slight well in the bread. Carefully place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.
To assemble the burgers, add pita chips to salad and toss again. On each roll bottom place a grilled patty, followed by an equal portion of the salad (making sure to include all salad ingredients on each burger), add the roll top, and serve.