What could be better than a burger for a Memorial Day feast? How about a bun-less burger with three great toppings, served with a summer corn soup and a peppery melon salad?
Steak chef David Walzog knows how to grill a burger, to say the least. The executive chef at the SW Steakhouse at the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel, Walzog has run the kitchens of many well-known steakhouses, specializing in Southwestern and Western fare. He developed Michael Jordan's Steak House brand steak sauce and steak rub, as well as a line of Southwestern sauces and salad dressings.
Walzog is the author of "The New American Steakhouse Cookbook," published in 2005.
He prepared a holiday weekend meal for six on a special budget of $60 for The Saturday Early Show's Chef on a Shoestring segment. On the menu:
Mini Burgers with a Trio of Toppings
Melon Salad with a Black Pepper Syrup
Stilton Cheese: A delicious blue cheese first sold in the town of Stilton in England. The texture is rich and creamy but slightly crumbly.
Mushroom Duxelle (deu-SEHL): A mixture of finely chopped mushrooms, shallots and herbs slowly cooked in butter until it forms a thick paste.
Sirloin: A cut of beef typically reserved for steaks or roasts, but purchased ground it's perfect for burgers and has less fat than ground chuck.
Lavender Honey: Made from nectar that bees collect from lavender flowers.
SUMMER CORN SOUP WITH AROMATIC VEGETABLES AND CRISP TORTILLAS
3/4 cup White Onions, Finely Diced
3 cloves Fresh Garlic, thinly sliced
1 Jalapeno, Roughly Chopped
5 cups Sweet Corn Kernels
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
3 Tbsp. Corn Oil
1. Heat the corn oil over high heat in a soup pot and sauté the white onion, garlic and jalapeno until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the corn and add 2 quarts of water. Season with salt and ground black pepper and allow to cook for 30 minutes over medium heat.
2. Remove from heat and blend until smooth. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve hot.
1/4 cup White Onion, finely diced
1/4 cup Celery, peeled and finely diced
1/4 cup Carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 Thyme sprigs
2 Bay Leaves
2 tsp Whole Butter
2 sprigs Cilantro, leaves picked and julienne
1. Cook all of the aromatic vegetables in a small pot of boiling water with the thyme sprigs, salt and bay leaf. Let cook for 2 minutes until slightly softened and strain, remove and discard the thyme and bay leaf.
2. Place the vegetables in a small bowl and coat the vegetables with butter and julienne cilantro.
Six corn tortillas - cut into very thin strips and fried crisp.
Divide the aromatic vegetables among six small serving bowls. Add the julienne crisp tortilla on top of the vegetables and fill the bowls with the hot corn soup.
"BURGER NO BREAD" WITH A TRIO OF TOPPINGS
2.5lbs Ground Sirloin
Ground Pepper and Kosher salt
Form the ground sirloin into 2 oz. patties, about 1.5" diameter by 1" high. Season with salt and pepper and cook to desired doneness on a grill or on the stovetop.
Stilton Cheese Topping
6 oz. Stilton Cheese, crumbled
3 slices smoked bacon. Cut in half and cooked very crisp
1. Divide the stilton cheese among six of the mini burgers and allow to slightly melt before serving. Place a slice of crisp bacon on top of the burgers. Garnish with parsley sprig
Mushroom Duxelle for the burger
1/2 cup Crimini Mushrooms
1 Portabello Mushrooms
1/4 cup Shallot Diced
2 Tbsp. Chopped Garlic
1/2 tsp Fresh Thyme
Salt and Ground Black Pepper
3 tbsp. Heavy Cream
3 slices Gruyere Cheese
1. Using a hot sauté pan, sauté the shallot and garlic for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the butter and fresh thyme and season the mushrooms with salt and pepper.
3. Transfer to a baking sheet and chill before proceeding.
4. Remove the cooked mushrooms from any liquid that's collected on the tray. Add the mushrooms to a food processor and pulse to mince them. You may have to scrape down the sides to incorporate thoroughly.
5. Add the cream to the mushrooms, cook in a sauté pan over medium heat until the cream is incorporated and then chill the mixture.
6. Cut the gruyere cheese the same size diameter as six of the burgers and when the burgers are a minute away from the desired temperature add the cheese to the mini burgers and allow to melt. Warm the mushrooms before topping each burger with a spoonful of the mixture.
Lemon Shrimp for the burger
12 Medium Shrimp, Peeled
1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
1/4 tsp. Ground Cumin
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp. Cilantro
1/4 Tbsp. Sweet Paprika
1/4 Tbsp. Pulverized Garlic
1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
3 pcs. Scallion - thinly julienne on bias
1. Toast the coriander and cumin in a dry pan for 30 seconds. Add all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
2. Add the shrimp to the marinade and refrigerate for 2 hours before grilling.
3. Grill the marinated shrimp over high heat for 2-3 minutes flipping one time throughout the cooking.
4. Remove from the grill and top six of the burgers with the two shrimp. Garnish the burger with julienne scallion.
MELON SALAD WITH HERBS AND BLACK PEPPER SYRUP
The melon salad can be composed from any of a variety of melons--Musk melons, watermelon, Charantais or Crenshaw. Just make sure the melons are very ripe.
1 Cantelope or similar gold flesh melon - Peeled and cut into wedges
2lb Red or Yellow Seedless watermelon - cut into balls using a Parisian scoop
1 Honeydew or similar green fleshed melon - peeled and cut into perfect large dice, about 2" square
4 sprigs Fresh Mint - julienne
2 sprigs Cilantro - julienne
1 Tbsp Orange Zest
Sections from above oranges
2 Tbsp. Cracked Black Pepper
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Lavender Honey
1. In a small pot add the sugar, water and lavender honey. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and allow to cook and thicken for 6-8 minutes.
2. Add the cracked black pepper and let steep in the syrup for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool.
3. Add the orange zest, mint and cilantro. Cool to room temperature before serving
4. Arrange the melons and orange segments on a chilled serving platter. Drizzle with the black pepper syrup and serve.