Everybody loves a good burger, and I am no different, but here I bring the hamburger a bit closer to Italy. Warming the tomatoes for a minute or two brings out their juices and eliminates the need for condiments. I like grating vegetables, like the onion in the recipe, into my burger mixture- it adds flavor and moisture. Try this with beef burgers, as I do here, but it’s an even better tip for turkey or chicken burgers, which tend to be dry. I like to serve my burgers with a simple tossed salad.
Watch me make them here –
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (80/20 fat content)
- 1/2 medium onion, grated on the coarse holes of a box grater
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Sicilian oregano on the branch
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 4 squares focaccia, split crosswise to use as buns
- 1 ripe beefsteak tomato, cut into 4 thick slices
- 4 thick slices low-moisture mozzarella
- Sliced pickled peperoncini, for topping
Combine the beef, onion, and oregano in a large bowl. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Form into four patties about 1 inch thick.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Brush with olive oil. Toast the focaccia squares, cut sides down, until lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove them to serving plates. Add the tomato slices to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and lightly brown on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Remove and reserve them to top the burgers.
Add the burgers, and cook until they’re charred on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip, and continue to cook until they’re done to your liking, 4 to 6 minutes more for medium. Remove the skillet from the heat, add the cheese to the burgers, cover the skillet, and let it sit just until the cheese melts, 1 to 2 minutes.
Transfer the burgers to the focaccia, top them with the tomatoes and sliced peperoncini, and serve.