Hold the bun. This deconstructed version of a drive-thru staple replete with a “special sauce” ups the nutritional ante with more veggies and assures your summer burger habit never tasted so fresh. If desired, other ground meats such as pork, chicken, or even bison can replace the beef. Or make it a vegetarian salad by using your favourite veggie burger recipe.
In small bowl, place onion slices, lemon juice, sugar, and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt. With your hands, massage onions until tender and pink, about 2 minutes. Chill until ready to use.
In large bowl, gently combine beef, 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt, cumin, and black pepper. Shape into 4 patties.
Build a medium-hot fire in charcoal grill, or heat gas grill to medium-high and grease grill grates.
Place burgers on grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature taken with an instant-read thermometer registers 165 F (75 C). Remove burgers from grill, let rest for 5 minutes, and then slice into quarters.
Divide salad greens among 4 serving plates and top with burger chunks, tomato, onion, pickles, and cheese.
Stir together mayonnaise, vinegar, tomato paste, garlic, and paprika. Drizzle dressing evenly over salads.
Tourtière is, for me, the dish that best represents Québec. It can be traced back to the 1600s, and there’s no master recipe; every family has their own twist. Originally, it was made with game birds or game meat, like rabbit, pheasant, or moose; that’s one of the reasons why I prefer it with venison instead of beef or pork. Variation: If you prefer to make single servings, follow our lead at the restaurant, where we make individual tourtières in the form of a dome (pithivier) and fill them with 5 ounces (160 g) of the ground venison mixture. Variation: You can also use a food processor to make the dough. Place the flour, salt, and butter in the food processor and pulse about ten times, until the butter is incorporated—don’t overmix. It should look like wet sand, and a few little pieces of butter here and there is okay. With the motor running, through the feed tube, slowly add ice water until the dough forms a ball—again don’t overmix. Wrap, chill, and roll out as directed above.
My love of artichokes continues with this classic recipe, one of the best ways to eat this interesting, underrated, and strange vegetable. Frozen artichoke hearts are a time-saving substitute, though the flavour and texture of fresh artichokes are, by far, much superior and definitely preferred.
Cervelle de canut is basically the Boursin of France, an herbed fresh farmer’s cheese spread that’s a speciality of Lyon. The name is kind of weird, as it literally means “silk worker’s brain,” named after nineteenth-century Lyonnaise silk workers, who were called canuts. Sadly, the name reflects the low opinion of the people towards these workers. Happily for us, though, it’s delicious—creamy, fragrant, and fresh at the same time. Cervelle de canut is one of my family’s favourite dishes. It’s a great make-ahead appetizer that you can pop out of the fridge once your guests arrive. Use a full-fat cream cheese for the dish, or it will be too runny and less delicious.