|bun, lettuce, patty, egg, pimentón aioli...|
|...tomato, more tomato, a bit more...|
|... more tomato, lettuce, bun|
How much tomato is too much? Well, when they're fresh-sliced summer heirlooms, I really don't know. The slices were about an inch thick, but the burger didn't taste over-tomatoed. It did pour juice like a tropical storm hitting a mountain range, a deluge that filled the bottom of the plate.
These patties were a premium frozen brand. Lots of flavor, but nothing beats a hand-formed patty for thickness and browning without succumbing to dryness. With a half pound of meat (before cooking) beefiness was assured. Cooked medium, since I didn't grind the meat myself and thanks to my food safety class I know just what can live in the depths of ground beef.
Here's what went into these towering tomatoey treats:
Baguette dough using pâte fermentée, sesame seeds. Nothing on the buns, so they could better absorb the juice coming off the burger and tomatoes. They were formed flat so that with a bit of squeezing it would be possible to eat this like nature intended: with your hands.
Pimentón agridulce powder, garlic, red wine vinegar, chopped green olives (paste, really), egg yolk, lots of olive oil. Kind of an aioli with benefits.
Cherokee Purple and Brandywine, lightly salted and peppered after slicing.
Simply seasoned with salt and pepper. The aioli was there to add more spice and flavor, so the meat could be simple and pure.
How could this be improved? Maybe a bit of bacon, home-ground beef that's thicker and more seasoned, maybe broil the tomatoes to intensify their flavor and reduce moisture content, a touch more salt. I could have added fresh basil but that would have dominated the tomatoes, and the goal was to let their flavor come through to accompany the meat. I left off the cheese for the same reason, but it could have had a bit of goat, blue, dry white cheddar or Alsatian muenster for more richness (and calories).
Could it have had more tomatoes? Probably. Tomatoes smash down quite well, allowing the burger to be eaten despite its impressive initial height. At some point, still undetermined, the tomatoes would simply flow out under pressure like aa lava, ending up in a somewhat chunky pile on the plate.