It’s been called a cruel twist of fate: May is both National Hamburger Month and National Salad Month in the U.S. I’m not joshing, here! So… What do you do to celebrate? Many ideas have been floated, but one thing is sure: A Hamburger with a Salad sounds like just about the optimum cook-out combo!
I know pro wrestling fans whose attention has been snagged by the headline will be disappointed. But a showdown between Burgers and Salads need not be violent. Or even unpleasant. In fact, as I see it, Burgers and Greens complement each other perfectly. And, since May is the unofficial start of the grilling season across North America, it seems even more suitable that this is their month, together.
Burgers need not be unhealthy…
Hamburgers are not, in themselves unhealthy, especially if you prepare them in healthy ways and go easy on the Salty, Sugar-filled condiments.
I make my own Burger Patties and freeze them in meal-sized portions, using a 4 oz. / 120 ml scoop and a ring mold that matches the size of the Buns I like. I use Medium (80-20) Ground Beef and add Seasoning, Herbs and some chopped Onion. I also add a half cup / 125 ml of fine Bread Crumbs soaked in a quarter cup / 65 ml of Milk, like the Italian lady who lived across the street when I was little used to do with her Meatballs. The bread acts both as a binder and a reservoir of moisture, which ensures that your Burgers always turn out tender and juicy.
I roast my Burgers in the oven all year round (excerpt when I grill), on a rack with closely-spaced rungs or a cast iron grill pan, so that the fat drips off as they cook. They never burn, and they do develop a delicious flavour.
I like to dress my burgers with a slice of real Aged Cheddar Cheese, a leaf or two of lettuce and a slice of Beefsteak Tomato. That’s all. If course, you can add condiments to suit your taste, but I prefer mine clean and healthy.
Salads have many, happy faces…
There are as many salads as there are ways of combining the myriad ingredients folks put in them. And almost all cuisines have their signature vegetable dishes which qualify as Salads.
Salad/Burger Month is a great opportunity to celebrate the wonderful variety of flavours and textures that Salads offer, from Italian Panzanella (Tomatoes, Bread Chunks, Onions, Cucumber and Garlic), to the classic Chef Salad, to the traditional Indian Onion and Cucumber Salads.
Dressings come in all guises, from creamy, to simple Oil, to Vinaigrettes. In India that use Raita Sauce, based on Yogurt, as a dressing. Only you know what you prefer on any given Salad, but I’ve always believed it’s best to stick with the dressing the originators of any Salad recipe recommend for it.
Two Rules are paramount: Use only the freshest ingredients you can get in your salads, and use only high-quality, healthy Oils (I prefer Olive) in your dressings.
And that’s how I plan to keep things cordial during Burger/Salad Month. Wish me luck.
~ Maggie J.