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Beef Burger | Green Tomato Agrodolce | Caramelized Onions

November 8, 2011

Sweet and sour. It’s perhaps the most common example of creating a dish with contrasting flavors. Great dishes are all about balance. A dish can be sweet and taste great. However, that dish can become great when you add a component of sourness or spiciness which not only offers contrast in flavor, but ends up reinforcing the dish’s intended flavor profile.

For example, let’s talk about this agrodolce (literally, Italian for “sour-sweet”). I first encountered said sauce at one of my favorite restaurants – City House. The Chef had a dish – homemade sausage with green tomato agrodolce and abbey ale mustard. It was a phenomenal dish – the really fatty, juicy sausage was rich and hearty. But what made it great was the sauces, which cut through the richness of the dish and made the plate harmonious – great contrast in flavor and incredible balance. Ever since that day, I knew I needed to re-create this sauce.

Low and behold, I was at the market on Saturday for my CSA pickup, when I saw we were able to pick up 2 lbs of green tomatoes. The minute I saw them, I knew this recipe had to be made. And if that wasn’t a sign, when I looked up “green tomato agrodolce” to try to get a recipe, I realized the City House recipe was actually featured in Bon Appetit! The recipe itself is really easy – it takes almost no time to make. So, I made a big batch and put it in the fridge.

The next day just happened to be Sunday – and that means football in my house. I had a few friends coming over and decided to make some burgers. And then it hit me – a juicy, fatty, beef burger with this green tomato agrodolce would be amazing. The match was made, the burgers were eaten, and all rejoiced! I might never go back to dill pickles – this agrodolce sauce is were it’s at. And you better believe I’m going to use it on whatever I can!

Beef Burger | Green Tomato Agrodolce | Caramelized Onions

(burger/onion recipe courtesy of Vivek Surti, sauce recipe courtesy of City House in Nashville, TN)

For the green tomato agrodolce:

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup chopped red onion

3 tablespoons sugar

2 cups chopped green tomatoes

1/4 distilled white vinegar

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onions to the pan and cook until they are soft, but have not browned, about 4 minutes. Then add the sugar and cook until the liquid in the pan becomes a little syrupy, about 5 minutes. Put in the tomatoes, vinegar, and mustard. Season the entire dish with salt. Bring the heat up to high and when it starts boiling, reduce the heat back to medium and cook until the tomatoes are tender, but not falling apart.

The mixture should not be too liquidy. If it is, strain the tomatoes and reduce until you have about 1/2 cup of liquid. Put the agrodolce in a bowl and bring to room temperature. Then, cover and chill in the fridge for one day.

For the caramelized onions:

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

kosher salt and black pepper

Let the butter melt in a pan over medium low heat. Add the onions and season with thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for about 30 minutes until the onions are soft and deeply caramelized. Remove from the heat.

For the burgers:

2 lbs ground beef (I get mine fresh ground at the butcher – this was a mix of 50% chuck, 25% skirt steak, 25% brisket), molded into 8 1/4 lb. patties

8 slices jalapeno jack cheese

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Season the burgers liberally with salt and pepper. Grill the burgers for about 2-3 minutes on each side for medium. About a minute before the burger is done, put a slice of cheese and cover the grill so the cheese is completely melted.

To assemble the burgers, get your hamburger buns (feel free to toast them), and shmear on some mayonnaise. Then top it with the caramelized onions, the burger, and finish with the green tomato agrodolce sauce.

This is one burger you are gonna love!



10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 8, 2011 11:10 AM

    This sounds outrageously good! Give a brother a holler next time you’re grilling burgers.

  2. November 8, 2011 11:26 AM

    this looks so delicious + now i’m craving a burger for lunch. may have to run out + grab one!

    • November 8, 2011 11:38 AM

      I was writing this post last night and I really wanted a burger too! Unfortunately, I brought soup from home for lunch…

  3. November 8, 2011 3:51 PM

    Hello! That looks mouth-watering. Your first pic is so good, Vivek! Seriously, I need on that call list the next time you’re grilling, too. I want a burger…now!

  4. November 10, 2011 3:14 PM

    Hey V, are you going to the 3 Musketeers Like-up? Today 6-8 pm at the Loews Vanderbilt!

  5. November 12, 2011 2:35 PM

    Found you through a search of Catbird Seat. Going tonight! Wonderful blog. Loving your photos and recipes. Cheers!

  6. November 15, 2011 5:09 PM

    These look delicious!!


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