She wasn’t your typical grandmother.
Grandma Fern was an Auntie Mame, see-the-world kind, the sort of grandmother who would take you to a piano bar or educate you how you can play blackjack. Her exuberant persona matched the bustling vitality of Pie ’n Burger, the cool restaurant in Pasadena, California, the place she would take her grandson Michael Osborn, when he was a baby within the Sixties.
Now, many years later, Osborn owns the restaurant.
“For lots of people, it’s like dwelling,” he mentioned of his 35-seat institution.
One merchandise on the menu, the hamburger steak plate, has been served for so long as Osborn can keep in mind. However the dish is a little bit of a relic — extra widespread on diner menus many years in the past — and lately, it may be laborious to seek out.
At Pie ’n Burger, it’s a half-pound of prime floor beef that’s fashioned right into a patty, then cooked on a flat griddle. The plate comes with a salad and hash browns produced from potatoes steamed in-house, plus a buttered and toasted bun. Osborn’s diners deal with the patty like a steak, consuming it with a knife and a fork and including Worcestershire sauce, Heinz 57 or ketchup for seasoning.
Individuals immediately would possibly ask: Why would anybody order this over a daily bunned hamburger, or perhaps a steak?
“Typically at night time, folks need one thing apart from a sandwich or a burger,” Osborn defined, including that the burger plate is “much more value efficient for a buyer than a steak.”
Right this moment, Osborn sells far fewer hamburger steaks than he does the standard burgers for which his restaurant is understood. However he recollects a time, throughout the heyday of the Atkins weight loss program, when the hamburger steak was all the trend.
The historical past of those patties stretches again even additional. Within the late nineteenth century, German immigrants to the US introduced with them Hamburg steak, a spherical of minced seasoned beef. It was later known as hamburger steak and have become a well-liked merchandise at American eating places and lunch counters.
Throughout World Conflict I, “hamburger steak” turned “Salisbury steak,” a part of an effort to curb the usage of German loanwords, in keeping with H.L. Mencken, the scholar of American English. The title nodded to Dr. James Henry Salisbury, who famously really helpful consuming this dish 3 times a day (for well being causes). Now, it often is available in a brown gravy, generally lacy with onions.
Pie Õn Burger proprietor Michael Osborn with the restaurant’s Hamburger Steak Plate, in Pasadena, Calif. On the restaurant, which opened within the early 60s, the menu merchandise’s half-pound of prime floor beef is fashioned right into a patty, then cooked on a flat griddle and served with a salad and hash browns produced from potatoes steamed in-house, plus a buttered and toasted bun. (Rozette Rago/The New York Occasions)
This recipe, impressed by Salisbury steak, German Hamburg steak and different patties of the world, together with Danish frikadeller, Japanese hambagu and Korean hambak steak, flavors a patty of floor beef with Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg and grated onion, which retains the meat moist. The remaining is mere meeting, arranging contemporary, crunchy accouterments — tomatoes, onions and pickles — to accompany the tender patties.
Although, after all, you possibly can sandwich all of those components between bread, consuming them individually permits you to admire every half — an opportunity to really relish what makes a burger nice.
——Recipe: Burger Plate
Complete time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
1 small Vidalia or yellow onion, peeled and trimmed
1 pound lean floor beef (90/10) or plant-based floor meat
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
4 teaspoons ketchup, plus extra for serving
2 teaspoons darkish brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon floor nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Impartial oil, equivalent to vegetable or canola oil, or mild olive oil
4 slices American cheese or sharp cheddar (non-compulsory)
1 pound Campari, cocktail or different small tomatoes, halved or lower into wedges if massive
4 dill pickle spears, halved
4 thick slices chewy white bread, equivalent to sourdough, toasted and halved
Yellow or Dijon mustard, for serving
1. Utilizing a Microplane or different tremendous grater, finely grate about 1 tablespoon of the onion from the basis finish into a big bowl and put aside. Slice the rest of the onion crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rings, add to a separate small bowl and fill with chilly faucet water. Soak the onion rings within the fridge to mellow out.
2. To the bowl with the grated onion, add the bottom beef, panko, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, brown sugar and nutmeg. Season with the salt and pepper. Kind the meat into 4 patties (about 1-inch thick).
3. Warmth a big skillet over medium. Add sufficient oil to flippantly coat the underside of the pan and wait till it’s shimmery. Fastidiously add the patties to the pan and cook dinner till browned and caramelized, 2 to three minutes per facet.
4. Take away the pan from the warmth, high every patty with a slice of cheese and canopy the pan till the cheese is melted and the hamburgers are not pink on the insides, 1 to 2 minutes.
5. To serve, evenly divide the cheese-topped patties, the tomatoes, pickles and bread amongst 4 plates. Drain the onions and add to the plates, together with a squirt every of ketchup and mustard. Eat with a knife and fork or, in case you’d like, sandwiched between the bread.
This text initially appeared in The New York Occasions.
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