With summer comes the flood of grilling advice, burger permutations, and neighborhood block party fare. A couple weeks ago (yes, it’s taken me a while to get to posting this one), Sarah and I decided to get into the seasonal spirit, dust off the grill, and celebrate the approach of summer with a couple of burgers.
So we went ahead and procured some high-quality beef patties from our local butcher (for our family, trips to the small-town butcher are almost exclusive to summertime frolicking) and some classic sesame seed buns.
A burger’s really only as good as its toppings, so we went ahead with sharp cheddar, lettuce, tomato, avocado, mustard, mayonnaise, and a pickle spear on the side. But we wanted a little extra TLC and decided to make some quick pickled red onions and oven-baked seasoned French fries. (Bacon would also be fabulous, but we decided to save some of our calories…)
Here’s the finished product:
If you want to reproduce some of that summery char-grilled goodness, here’s what ya gotta do.
The Quick Pickled Onions
These pickles make a nice tangy addition to burgers, hotdogs, sandwiches, and even hors d’oeuvres. To make them, add all the ingredients to a small sauce pan.
- 1 red onion, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
- ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 dried red chili pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- 1 fat pinch of salt
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ cup rice vinegar
Bring the pot to a boil, stirring occasionally for about 1-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and transfer the onions to a small bowl. Let the onions sit to absorb the flavors and cool to room temperature for about 30 minutes. If you’re strapped for time, though, you can eat them immediately. Or you can make them far in advance and let them sit in the vinegar and use them over the next couple of weeks.
They’re great on burgers, as you’ll see…
They’d be lovely on bagels as a substitute for raw onion…
And I even munched a pickled red onion and chopped liver crostini as a decadent snack today…Highly recommended, if that’s your cuppa tea.
To the fries!
Perfect Baked Seasoned Fries
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 3 large russet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon Adobo seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Bell’s Seasoning
- extra salt, to taste
- ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Olive oil
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Thoroughly scrub your potatoes.
Cut them into slices lengthwise, and then cut each slice into 1/2-inch thick fries. As you cut, drop the fries into a bowl of ice water. Let the potatoes soak for 10-15 minutes.
While you’re waiting, combine all of the spices into a small bowl. Drain the potatoes and rinse thoroughly with cold water.
Spread the potatoes out on a dry dishcloth. Pat dry and transfer to a large bowl.
Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes…
And sprinkle in the seasoning. Toss to coat.
Spread the fries in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with nonstick foil. Bake the fries, stirring/flipping the fries every 15 minutes for 45-60 minutes. Keep a closer eye on them as they crisp up, as they can burn easily the crispier they get. When they’re done, plate them up in a shallow dish so they don’t steam and soften up. You want a crispy fry!
Serve alongside your burger permutation of choice…
And enjoy with friends!