Who would've guessed that revolutionary chef Ferran Adrià, a master of calcium chloride, dehydrators and other modernist cuisine doodads, knew a thing or two about a good cheeseburger? While burgers make for a comforting, easy-to-prepare dinner (or otherwise) for most home cooks, I never expected a quick Google search of "Ferran Adria burgers" to yield anything worthwhile (if you've feasted upon the previous CL spread, you get it. The two seem like polar opposites) — but it did.
In his 2011 cookbook, The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adrià, the chef outlines almost 100 recipes that ordinary mortals like ourselves can pull off in the kitchen. These formulas — inspired by the everyday dinner fare enjoyed by his 75-person elBulli staff and created in collaboration with one of his head chefs, Eugeni de Diego — include everything from Mexican-style slow-cooked pork to roast chicken with potato straws. The book is organized into affordable three-course menus, allowing readers to create a mini feast for two, six, 20 or 75 family or friends.
Think of this Adrià cheeseburger recipe as an early homage to Tampa Bay Burger Week, which runs from Oct. 20 to 30. And remember, unlike just about anything the chef dreamt up at elBulli, you can try this at home — no liquid nitrogen necessary.
Though seasoned taste-tester and CL cocktail writer Chris Fasick was a little wary about the burger (he's never had one that called for milk as an ingredient), he says his turned out flavorful and juicy. Adrià suggests serving up your patties with none other than: potato chips.
Serves 6; Adapted from The Family Meal
3/4 slice white bread, crusts removed
4 teaspoons whole milk
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
6 burger buns
6 Cheddar cheese slices
To make the burgers, tear the bread into pieces and soak in the milk for 5 minutes. Combine the meat, egg, soaked bread, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir together with your hands until you have an even mixture. Divide into the appropriate number of portions and shape into patties.
Cook the burgers with the oil in a frying pan over medium heat, or under a hot broiler, turning once during cooking. Cook for 3 minutes for rare, 5 minutes for medium and 8 minutes for well-done. Cut the buns in half and toast them lightly in a dry pan or under the broiler.
Top each burger with a slice of cheese. Using a spatula, lift each burger onto a bun. Add your choice of toppings and serve.