Thursday, August 2, 2012
The Double Cross
What does it take to make a great sandwich? Is it the bread? Is it the toppings? Is it the history and atmosphere where it is consumed?
In seeking to answer these questions, Adam Richman, the host of the Travel Channel TV series, "Adam Richman's Best Sandwich in America", has developed the BITE scale a scientific assessment of all the qualities that encompass an excellent sandwich.
The BITE Scale Defined
B. Bread - It contains the sandwich, but it also has the ability to lend flavors and textures.
I. Interior - What's inside. The quality and quantity of the condiments as well as the main ingredients.
T. Taste - How does it taste? No matter how good something looks on paper it still has to execute when it comes to titillating the taste buds.
E. Experience - The set and setting. A great sandwich served up with a shitty attitude doesn't pass muster, but a great dining experience can lift even a seemingly ordinary sandwich to great heights.
Recently, I had the fortune of eating a sandwich that delivered on all of these categories. It was at a little place located on the outskirts of Austin Texas called Wholly Cow (Wholly Cow & Zen Market).
The simple burger joint shared its space with the Zen Market, a convenience store with all sorts of interesting wares. Most notably, a great selection of locally brewed kombucha teas. The sandwich itself was called "The Fit Cross" and it was a grass fed beef patty with bacon served on a grilled portobello mushroom bun.
Unfortunately, I live in Florida, so visiting Austin Texas every time I have a craving for a Fit Cross is just not happening.
What is happening, however, is recreating the Fit Cross at home. Inspired by and improving upon the original, I give you The Double Cross.
B. Bread - It ain't got none! Instead, you'll find portobello mushrooms, specially prepared to maximize grip while adding a rich umami flavor.
I. Interior - Not one, but two six ounce grass-fed beef patties from US Wellness Meats, four strips of crispy US Wellness sugar-free bacon, perfectly ripe mashed Hass avocado, sauteed onions cooked in bacon fat, a thick slice of locally grown beefsteak tomato, and locally grown romaine lettuce.
T. Taste - 75/25 beef packs tons of juicy flavor which is complimented by the crispy pork bacon, and creamy avocado. The onions add a bit of sweetness and the fresh veggies refresh the palate. By the time you're finished, your taste buds will think they just finished a metcon.
E. Experience - You're eating it at your own damn house so make it right. Get your table set, ensure that you have a ton of napkins, and take the appropriate stance. Elbows bend approximately 90 degrees and leaning over the plate. Toppings will end up everywhere, so prepare to get dirty. Additionally, this baby is dairy free, grain free, industrial seed oil free, and 100% Paleo approved, so you can eat it without feeling guilty!
2 large organic portobello mushrooms (stems removed)
4 strips US Wellness sugar-free pork bacon
2 6oz 75/25 US Wellness grass-fed beef burger patties (room temperature)
1/2 Hass avocado (mashed)
1/2 small white onion (sliced)
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt & fresh ground black pepper
Beefsteak tomato (1 thick slice)
Romaine lettuce leaves (with spine trimmed out)
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
After removing the stems, rub olive oil onto the top of the mushrooms and season with sea salt. Place the mushrooms gill side up on top of a wire rack (I used a cookie cooling rack) which is itself on top of a cooking sheet that has been covered in foil (I did this simply to make cleanup easier). Drizzle the mushrooms with a little more olive oil and season with another sprinkle of sea salt.
Put them in the oven and set your timer to 15 minutes. As they cook, the mushrooms with exude moisture (mushrooms are mostly water by weight), so you want to flip them every 15 minutes for an hour or more. The wire rack will allow air to flow around the mushrooms which will leave the caps firm and dry rather than slimy.
When the mushrooms are done set on a paper towel to further dry them out.
Note: You can also use wire rack (with your oven set to 200 degrees) to keep your bacon hot while preparing other ingredients.
In a large frying pan, cook 4 slices of bacon over medium heat. Cook the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon to a paper towel to dry, but leave the bacon grease in the pan.
Reduce the temperature to medium-low and add your onions to the pan. Allow them to completely caramelize so that they are completely soft and golden brown. This may take ~20 minutes, but you can simply turn the heat to low and cover to keep them warm while you are working on other ingredients.
To make the mashed avocado, simply slice an avocado in half by running a sharp knife through the center. Twist the two halves to separate. Using the tines of a fork, mash the meat of the avocado while still in it's skin. If you are going to leave the avocado out for awhile, drizzle with a little lime juice to prevent browning.
Note: There is sufficient fat in the beef so no additional greasing of the pan is required.
Heat a skillet to medium heat (I used iron, but any oven safe cookware will do) and turn on your oven's broiler.
Season the beef patties on both sides with sea salt and black pepper and add to the skillet. Place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes before flipping. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes and then remove to a paper towel to drain slightly before assembling the burger.
On one of the portobello mushroom caps stack your lettuce, tomato, bacon and onions. On the other half, stack the beef patties and mashed avocado. With Houdini like skills, marry the two halves together. Ta-da! Prepare to be Double Crossed!