The hamburger as a work of art

Forget ordinary ketchup and mustard for your hamburger. The next time you grill, try roasted aioli and blue cheese for an adventure in flavors.

The Gourmand Mom
The 'Mona Lisa Burger' is a beef patty on ciabatta bread with gorgonzola, prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and a roasted garlic aioli dressing.

Several weeks ago, I ran across a website for the Cheese and Burger Society, a site designed to showcase delicious Wisconsin cheeses. My mouth watered as I flipped through their slideshow of delicious cheese-laden burgers. I made the immediate decision that I would gradually cook my way through each of the burgers on that site. With perfect grilling season now upon us, it is an ideal time to be embarking on a burger adventure. A few weeks ago, I cooked my version of The Miss Daisy, a beef patty on sesame semolina with apple butter and brie. Tonight, I’ll be making my version of The Mona Lisa (#20 in the slideshow), featuring a beef patty on ciabatta, with gorgonzola cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, prosciutto, and a roasted garlic aioli.

An aioli (pronounced ay-OH-lee or eye-OH-lee) is a garlic sauce, similar to a mayonnaise, which is traditionally made with raw egg yolks, olive oil and crushed garlic. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of mayonnaise. Something about the texture of it and the feel of it in my mouth gives me chills. But, it really does seem to belong on this burger. I love the flavor combination of sweet roasted garlic with gorgonzola, so I decided to use a roasted garlic aioli in my version of The Mona Lisa burger.

As I mentioned, aioli is traditionally made with raw egg yolks, though with concerns about salmonella, some people opt to use a prepared mayonnaise base. I went back and forth about which version to share with you and ultimately decided to share both. If you do decide to use the raw egg version, be aware of the potential risks of consuming raw eggs and use the freshest, highest quality eggs. Pregnant women, children or people with compromised immune systems should probably avoid the raw version completely. (To see what the FDA says about egg safety, click here.)

Roasted Garlic Aioli

1 egg yolk
8 cloves of roasted garlic
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch of cayenne
Salt and Pepper

Use the edge of a knife to smash the cloves of garlic into a paste. In a bowl, whisk together egg yolk, roasted garlic, and lemon juice. Very slowly, begin to drizzle the olive oil into the bowl, whisking continuously. (Adding the oil too quickly may cause the sauce to “break”, which occurs when the oil and the egg yolks separate.) Slowly continue to incorporate the oil, whisking constantly, until the sauce thickens to a consistency similar to a thin mayonnaise. (If the sauce becomes too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water.) Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. Add additional roasted garlic, if desired.

Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise

5-8 cloves of roasted garlic
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch of cayenne

Use the edge of a knife to smash the cloves of garlic. Combine the roasted garlic, mayonnaise, cayenne, and lemon juice until smooth.

The Mona Lisa Burger
Beef patty on ciabatta with gorgonzola, prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and a roasted garlic aioli

Beef patty
Ciabatta rolls or loaf
Gorgonzola cheese
Sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
Olives with pimento, sliced
Roasted garlic aioli
Red onion, thinly sliced

Form the burgers to the shape of your bread. Grill burgers over medium heat until they reach a minimum temperature of 160 degrees. Split ciabatta in half. Spread roasted garlic aioli on the bottom half. Top with lettuce, onion, and sun-dried tomatoes. Place the burger on top of the garnish. Top with gorgonzola, olives, and prosciutto.

Amy Deline blogs at The Gourmand Mom.

Related post: How to Roast Garlic

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