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Naked burger, two ways

Buns are not required for this burger, as we draw natural flavour from the meat, and enhance this with textured vegetables like curled endives, wing beans, mushroom, marble potatoes...or a combination of some or all. In France, this is also known as a steak haché, an ubiquitous item in bistro menus. It's quite easy to make, because all you need are store-bought burger steaks (or you can choose to make your own too from minced beef, but why bother complicating things? The key word here is easy), some vegetables in the crisper section, and olive oil.

If you must have some form of carbs, like most of us do, you can add potatoes -- marbled ones can be sliced in half and steamed on the same skillet that you're using to cook the vegetables and meat, to build on flavour -- or a piece of toasted baguette (let's stay on brand with the steak haché term ;)). You don't need sauce with it, because a simple seasoning of salt and pepper on the steak haché should do the trick, along with caramelised onions, although if you wish, you can add some ketchup, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire, or whatever you have in the pantry, underneath the patty or on the side.

Here, I have made two versions of the steak haché: one with salad, the other with potatoes and wing beans. You can use whatever vegetables on hand; have confidence in what you like to prepare, the taste you prefer, memories of past restaurant orders that you enjoyed, and just build on the layers accordingly.

Steak haché version 1: with caramelised onions and mushrooms, and marbled potatoes and wing beans on the side

Steak haché version 2: with a deconstructed salad of onions and frisee


Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4


4 beef patties

1 pack of mushrooms (button, shimeji or baby portobello, it's your choice)

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely sliced

1 bag of marbled potatoes

2 cups shredded romaine or frisee leaves, or you can also use wing beans, cut into half-inch slices each

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat vegetable oil in skillet in medium heat. Saute onions until they become translucent. Add sliced garlic and some red pepper flakes (optional) toss occasionally for about 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside on a plate once onions have become light or golden brown.

2. On the same skillet, add textured vegetables: potatoes will need some time to soften. To speed up the process, cut the marbled potatoes in half and add a few spoonfuls of water in it. For wing beans, mushrooms and other vegetables, toss to coat with remaining oil in pan, then cover the lid, and let the vegetables simmer for 5 minutes or until they soften. Then set aside on a plate.

3. Put beef patties gently on the skillet. Depending on the size of your skillet, this could fit either one, two or three patties. It's okay, just repeat the process to get your desired portions. Sear beef for 5 to 8 minutes each side, reduce to half if you want medium-rare with a bit of red. Season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes, according to your desired taste.

Reduce heat; transfer onions on top of patties and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off and transfer to serving plates. Put salad or cooked vegetables beside the patties. Serve with toast (optional).


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