Norman Rockwell drew an illustration for the Mass Mutual insurance company titled “Cookout.” As mothers and children set the picnic table, fathers hover around the grill. Nowhere is there any food.
But imagine, give me your very best Family Feud guess as to what will appear on those quintessential American plates.
Burgers, of course, and corn on the cob. What’s on top of those burgers? A single square of cheese melting into the smoky, crevices in the beef patty. There’s a plate of iceberg lettuce available for topping, and if it’s a really good day, mom has fried up some bacon.
This burger, then, is not so far from American tradition. The corn, off-the-cob and tossed with bacon, tops the burger. Baby spinach replaces lettuce and our cheese is upgraded to a far-more-American cheddar. It’s fun, delicious and a little creative.
Maybe that’s why Mr. Rockwell left the plates empty. There’s nothing more American than taking traditions, making some changes, and making them our own.
Corn and Bacon Salsa Burger
Using beef with some fat makes this burger rich and moist. These are big burgers and could certainly be made into 6 smaller patties.
makes 4 large 1/2 pound burgers
- 2 pounds ground beef 80% lean
- 4 slices thick cut bacon, minced
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup parsley
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1/4 pound cheddar cheese, sliced
- 4 Kaiser rolls
- 1/4 pound baby arugula
- 1 cup Corn and Bacon Salsa (see below)
- Mix together ground beef, bacon, eggs, parsley and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper and form into four large patties.
- Heat your grill to medium-high and grill your burgers just off to the side of the coals. These are big patties, so you’ll probably cook them for 5-7 minutes a side for medium rare.
- Place a slice or two of cheese on burgers 1 minute before removing from grill.
- Layer bun bottoms with arugula and burgers. Top each with 1/4 cup corn and bacon salsa and bun top.
- If there’s not juice running down your chin, you’re doing it wrong!
Corn and Bacon Salsa
For a nuttier, toastier flavor, toss corn kernals with 1 tbs olive oil and 1/4 tsp cumin and roast in a 400 degree oven until golden, about 7-10 minutes. Add right before seasoning the salsa. Serve this over grilled, cumin-lime marinated chicken or with chips.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups salsa
- 5 slices, thick cut bacon
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
- 2 ears corn, kernels removed
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- Sherry or Roasted Red Pepper Blackberry* vinegar
*Where do you get Roasted Red Pepper Blackberry vinegar? Sapore, of course! You can order online too.
- Fry bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until browned on both sides. Remove from pan and dry on paper towels. Leave 2 tbs bacon fat in pan.
- Return heat to medium and add red onion. Cook until softened.
- Add red onion and jalapeño. Sauté 3 additional minutes.
- Add raw corn, increase heat to medium high, and cook for 3-5 minutes until edges of corn turn golden.
- Stir in cilantro, cumin and chili powder. Remove salsa from heat.
- Chop bacon and stir into salsa.
- Season to taste with a splash of vinegar, salt and pepper. Add additional cumin or chili powder as needed.