While I was “composing” this recipe I also just happened to be reading Tony Bourdain’s hilarious but serious rant “Meat” from his most recent book, MEDIUM RAW. This dissuaded me from going all Boulud and using wagyu beef in addition to the foie gras. So I’m sticking to my standard rib eye steak, ground by hand. But first, the inspiration is the classic Tournedos Rossini; filet mignon, foie gras, garnished with truffles on a crouton. Clearly I’m not the first cook/chef to burgerize the tournedo, but this is my take on it. And maybe it is worth $25 to have a burger which you can consume medium rare without worrying about wiping out your entire immune system. Why do I insist on grinding my own burger meat? I’ve driven past the cattle yards in Kettleman City, the same ones shown in the film “Food, Inc.” and you wouldn’t want to consume an animal part that traveled from there---especially a blend of lots of parts all in one burger patty. If you grind your own meat you will at least know that it came from one cow. Maybe you even know the cow’s name. If you want to go totally borneo you can make your own hamburger buns. For that there is a recipe in Peter Reinhart’s superb book THE BREAD BAKER’S APPRENTICE. A ciabatta style bread from your baker will be just fine. But hold back the pickle jar please. Crank up “The Barber of Seville” next to the grill and get cooking. —pierino
rib eye steaks, about 20 ounces in total weight, possessing some nice fatty marbling
summer truffles (tartufi estivi), which you can buy in a jar
Make a mayonnaise. Break the the two whole eggs and place in the bowl of a blender. With the motor running slowly drizzle in olive oil until just before it’s mayonnaise. At this point begin drizzling in a small amount of white truffle oil to finish. Adjust with salt.
Attach the coarse plate to your child safe KitchenAid grinder attachment. Cut the steaks into strips, seal in a bag and place in the freezer for 15 minutes or so. They shouldn’t freeze solid but this method will allow you to grind them more easily. One single pass through the grinder should be sufficient as we’re not making patè. With your clean hands add salt and pepper and the separated yolk to the meat and form into patties. Place them between sheets of wax paper and hold in the refrigerator while you finish your mise.
Slice your foie gras about ¼” thick, about ½ ounce per slice.
Ever so thinly slice the tartufi with a sharp knife or a calibrated truffle grater.
Fire up your grill. While I use real wood charcoal with maybe an addition of vine cuttings, I’d say that in this case you are safe with gas. The wood smoke is not an important flavor component here.
Grill the burgers to desired doneness, meaning to order for your guests’ preference. Smear some of the mayo on the bottom of the buns, top with a slice of foie while the burger is still sizzling hot followed by some sliced truffle. You can even drizzle a little more truffle oil on the underside of top bun half before you close it up, but don’t overdo it. It should still taste like a burger.
Note to cooks: the addition of carmelized onions, sweated down for at least 40 minutes could be a good thing, but go easy on the condiments. Skip the demi glace. Lay on the mayo.
Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.