Saturday night this week found me trying to find the perfect topping to a burger. It's a search that I am more than happy to undertake, you should understand, as I love burgers. Not crap, fast-food burgers, although there is occasionally time made for a Whopper. But McDonald's taste far too sweet these days. They may not advertise to kids as much any more, but they certainly cater solely to their tastes.
So my perfect burger is not a mass-produced one. It's made at home from minced beef. Good mince is the key, and it's not always possible to get ahold of. The stuff I used this weekend wasn't that great, but this was really just a battle of the toppings.
On, or rather in, one hand was a burger topped with grilled portabello mushroom, Swiss cheese, ketchup (such a satisfying word) and American mustard. In the other hand, and straight out of left field, was a burger topped with horseradish and sliced beetroot.
The thinking behind the mushroom and cheese burger was memories of the Mushroom Double Swiss which Burger King used to offer. And it really wasn't bad. But the title of best burger topping belonged to beetroot and horseradish.
Beef and horseradish work great as a Sunday roast, and I thought they would pair really well in a burger. But I wanted another dimension, and thought that the sweetish earthiness of beetroot would work well. And it did. The overall taste was a meaty, sweet and sour taste. But with really pronounced tastes.
The taste of all the ingredients seemed to turn up the taste of the others. Beef and horseradish brought out the sweetness of the beetroot. That in turn contrasted nicely with the savoury beef and the heat of the horseradish. Great British ingredients teaming up to make a great British burger.
I never imagined my perfect burger would be one without cheese or relish. I have always thought a bit of lettuce and onion or tomato was vital. Which just isn't the case. At least for me it isn't. But I will keep checking on that.