These days, hamburger meat has gone gourmet, so your market may offer upscale blends of ground chuck and brisket, or ground chuck and short rib meat. Experiment if you wish, or use your own combination of chuck and sirloin. The secret flavor and juiciness comes from grated onion pulp. Garnish as you wish: With slices of juicy tomatoes, fresh basil and a gob of gooey cheese -- your choice. I'm into using havarti these days or take your taste buds in a different direction with thin slices of Bucheron goat cheese. Open a big zinfandel and keep the burgers rare to medium-rare.
3-1/2 pounds ground beef (not lean) 14 ounces sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil 1 large yellow onion 1/4 cup finely minced fresh basil 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 8 kaiser rolls or your favorite bread or focaccia 8 thin slices of cheese, sliced tomatoes, fresh basil leaves
Put the beef in a large bowl. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes; reserving 2 tablespoons of the oil. Chop the tomatoes into very small pieces to get 1-1/3 cups and add to the bowl. Cut the onion in half; grate on the large holes of a box grater. Add 1/2 cup grated onion pulp and juice to the bowl. Add the reserved tomato oil, basil, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Use your hands to blend; do not overmix. Form the mixture into 8 thick patties. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill or broil the burgers about 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Splash with balsamic vinegar and top with cheese, sliced tomatoes and basil. Serve on toasted rolls. Makes 8