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Recipes and Stories

5 July 2014: Pan Broiled Hamburgers

Independence Day Supper without a grill: pan-brioled hamburgers, oven-roasted sweet corn, sugar-snap peas, and French potato salad

Because we don’t have a grill and a huge pecan tree shades our back yard, making it an ideal nursery for mosquitoes, I don’t cook outdoors at home. So, grilled burgers and corn on the cob, the traditional offering for Independence Day, have to be cooked indoors. I pan-broil burgers and steaks, and it’s actually a lovely way to cook them.

For two people, trim, peel, and mince a medium-sized shallot and sauté it until softened but not colored in a tablespoon of unsalted butter over medium heat. Break up ¾ pound of ground sirloin in a mixing bowl. Add the shallot and season liberally with salt, a generous grinding of pepper, a spoonful of tomato ketchup, and a dash of Worcestershire. Mix this well, and shape into 2 oval patties that are about ½ inch thick in the center and an inch thick on the edges (they need to be thinner at the center because of the way they swell when cooked).

Warm a well-seasoned iron skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add a tablespoon of butter, swirl to coat the pan, and slip in the burgers. Cook 3-4 minutes, until well-browned on the bottom, turn, and cook 3 minutes longer. They should be medium by then. If you like them more done, turn, lower the heat, and cook 1-2 minutes longer per side.

Serve them as hamburger steaks with smothered onions or sautéed mushrooms, or on buns if you prefer with the usual condiments.

The other things on the plate are French potato salad, roasted sweet corn, and fresh sugar-snap peas. You can find the potato salad recipe elsewhere here in Recipes and Stories, the other two are simplicity itself: For the corn, position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat it to 425° F. Put the corn (still in its husk) on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, turning occasionally, until the husk is browned on all sides, about 15-20 minutes. Wearing oven mitts, shuck the corn, pulling away the silks, and serve it immediately, with fresh salted butter. For the sugar-snaps, just wash and trim them and put them in a heavy-bottomed pan with a splash of water and sprinkling of kosher salt. Cover the pan tightly and put it over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, replenishing the water by spoonfuls if necessary, until the peas are done to your liking.

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