Inspired by German Hamburg steak and other patties of the world, including Danish frikadeller, Japanese hambagu and Korean hambak steak, this lunch-counter meal of ground beef is seasoned with Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg and grated onion. The rest is mere assembly, arraying fresh, crunchy accoutrements to accompany the tender burgers: Tomatoes lend juiciness, dill pickles provide zing and sweet raw onions cut through the richness of the meat. Though you could sandwich all of these ingredients between two slices of toasted bread, eating them as a casual plate lunch lets you appreciate each part separately. If you’d like, replace the ground beef with a plant-based ground meat substitute.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1small Vidalia or yellow onion, peeled and trimmed
- 1pound lean ground beef (90/10) or plant-based ground meat
- ¼cup panko bread crumbs
- 4teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 4teaspoons ketchup, plus more for serving
- 2teaspoons dark brown sugar
- ¼teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
- ½teaspoon black pepper
- Neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola oil, or light olive oil
- 4slices American cheese or sharp Cheddar (optional)
- 1pound Campari, cocktail or other small tomatoes, halved or cut into wedges if large
- 4dill pickle spears, halved
- 4thick slices chewy white bread, such as sourdough, toasted and halved
- Yellow or Dijon mustard, for serving
Step 1Using a Microplane or other fine grater, finely grate about 1 tablespoon of the onion from the root end into a large bowl and set aside. Slice the remainder of the onion crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rings, add to a separate small bowl and fill with cold tap water. Soak the onion rings in the refrigerator to mellow out.
Step 2To the bowl with the grated onion, add the ground beef, panko, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, brown sugar and nutmeg. Season with the salt and pepper. Form the beef into 4 patties (about 1-inch thick).
Step 3Heat a large skillet over medium. Add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan and wait until it’s shimmery. Carefully add the patties to the pan and cook until browned and caramelized, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Step 4Remove the pan from the heat, top each patty with a slice of cheese and cover the pan until the cheese is melted and the hamburgers are no longer pink on the insides, 1 to 2 minutes.
Step 5To serve, evenly divide the cheese-topped patties, the tomatoes, pickles and bread among 4 plates. Drain the onions and add to the plates, along with a squirt each of ketchup and mustard. Eat with a knife and fork or, if you’d like, sandwiched between the bread.