Spring has finally arrived at Rabbit Hill. The crocuses are in full bloom. Lovage, chives and rhubarb are thrusting up sprouts of green and red, baby rabbit kits are scampering out of the nest box, and the grill is ready for action on the deck.
We Americans love to grill. In his “Fireside Cookbook,” James Beard writes, “Our ancestors, after a day’s hunting in the forest or sloshing through marshes and soggy fields, were most enthusiastic outdoor eaters. They would tear a leg off an animal carcass, sear it over a roaring fire, and cram it down with a little wild garlic. Though such procedure lacked refinement, it might well be the outdoor cook of today.”
Beard continues with “Outdoor cooking is primarily man’s work…and simple menus should be the rule. The guiding principles are simple food of excellent quality, careful cooking, good liquor or wines, plenty of everything, and well-organized but informal service.”
I completely agree with Beard; in our household, grilling is “man’s” work. While I may plan the menus, purchase and prep the ingredients, chop the vegetables, set the table, and organize the meal, my husband’s primary responsibility is to heat the grill, open a bottle of wine and perfectly cook the meat. Life (and food) is all about what really works for you.
For example, the recipe for Burger Salad is our compromise between a calorie-loaded, man-sized meal and a fresh, nutritious, and local-cheese eater repast.
Skip the bun. Instead, be adventurous with the early greens at the farmers market like pea shoots, wheatgrass, baby lettuces, sprouts, and Belgian endive. Choose perfectly ripe hothouse tomatoes and local, Maine cheese.
Think outside the beef box. Ground lamb is delicious. Finish the dish with chopped red onion, or chopped fresh chives, fresh parsley and herbs. Pour a glass of wine and enjoy.
This healthy and delicious salad can be made with ground beef, lamb or turkey.
Makes four salads
1 lb. ground meat (beef, lamb, turkey), divided into four patties
4 cups mixed salad greens
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 ripe tomatoes cut into wedges
1 cup grated carrot or pea shoots
2 oz. crumbled feta cheese
4 Tbsps. olive oil
1 Tbsps. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. grainy mustard
2 Tbsps. finely chopped fresh parsley
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
Preheat your grill and portion the ground meat into patties. Set aside.
Line four plates with the salad greens. Sprinkle the top of the greens with the chopped red onion and pea shoots. Arrange the tomato wedges around the greens.
To prepare the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, white wine vinegar, and grainy mustard. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and chopped parsley. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper.
Grill the burgers to a minimum internal temperature of 155 degrees. Place a burger on top of each salad. Sprinkle with the crumbled feta cheese and drizzle with the dressing.
Nutritional analysis per salad (varies with meat): 371 calories, 24 grams protein, 10 grams carbohydrates, 26 grams fat, 355 mg. sodium, 3 grams fiber.