The Global Burger: Argentina
I love a good burger. While I always enjoy the regular patty on a bun with cheese, lettuce, tomato and ketchup (as long as it's cooked at least medium rare), sometimes I like to put a twist or two on tradition. In this series of posts, I'm globalizing the burger by revamping it according to other countries' cuisines.
Photo by Joanna O'Leary. The Global Burger: Argentina
Invigorated by my successful India edition of The Global Burger, I set my sights on developing a version in homage to Argentina, a country I much admire for its high-quality bovine and oenological products.
The problem is I've never been to Argentina. In fact, my on-the-ground experience with South American food is limited to a weeklong trip to Peru, where I ate mostly potatoes and got engaged (true story).
Fortunately, among my circle of friends is a gal named Hadyn, who has worked and traveled extensively in Latin America and recently got her Master's in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas. I recruited her for her bread as much as her brains, 'cause Hadyn is also a damn fine baker. Among other suggestions, she advised using sopaipillas (pronounced so-pie-PEE-yas) as the "buns" for the burger AND generously agreed to make them for me. For more photos, background and directions for the sopaipillas, check out her lovely Bread Maiden blog.
Photo by Joanna O'Leary. Sopaipillas.
Now that I had outsourced one of the more complicated parts of the burger, I assembled the other components.
Photo by Joanna O'Leary. Argentine Burger Accoutrements: Chimichurri mayonnaise, eggs (to be fried), jams, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato.
- 1 (or 2) all-beef patties
- 2 sopaipillas
- 1 tablespoon chimichurri mayonnaise*
- 1 slice provolone cheese
- 1 tablespoon apple or peach or quince jelly
- 1 fried egg
- lettuce, sliced tomato to garnish
*To make the chimichurri mayonnaise, I used this recipe but left out the olive oil and substituted in 1/2 cup olive oil-based mayonnaise, which I added after processing the vegetable ingredients.
Season patties lightly with salt and pepper; cook to your liking on grill or stove top.
Spread chimichurri mayo on the first sopaipilla. On a second sopaipilla, spread preserves and stack patty, one slice of cheese, fried egg, lettuce and tomato. Top with first sopaipilla.
Notes: "Ugh," I hear you say, "mayo AND cheese AND jam AND an egg. That's gross." I intended this unorthodox assortment to represent different flavor pairings common in Argentine cuisine; chimichurri sauce is frequently served with beef and chicken, sopaipillas are eaten with fruit jams or dulce de leche for an afternoon snack, and the cheese gestures toward provoleta, an Argentine variety of grilled provolone often served as part of the dessert course. And the egg? Topping a sandwich with un huevo is par for the course in Argentina. If you're reluctant to try this maelstrom of flavors, I suggest doing either mayo or jam, the fried egg or the cheese, but not both.
Be forewarned, however, there's something absolutely fantastic about this combination of toppings. The fibrous, sweet jelly complements the creamy cheese and stands up to the hearty (thank you, lard) texture of the sopaipillas. Chimichurri mayonnaise packs a punch that livens up the beef patties. Finally, the oozing egg yolk binds sweet with savory and gives the whole sandwich a salty, sunny glow. Add a glass of Malbec and euphoria ensues.
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