Recipe: Nancy's burgers
FIRE IT UP: Silverton tops patties, made of beef with at least 20% to 28% fat, with crumbled chunks of blue cheese, left, and cheddar. "With lean meat," she says, "the burgers don't hold together." (Beatrice de Gea / Los Angeles Times)
Dill pickles, sliced vertically in quarters or eighths
1. Fry the bacon in a hot skillet until done but not too crisp, about 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
2. Cut the avocados into quarters or sixths. Sprinkle lightly with lemon juice, add the chives and toss. Season with sea salt and pepper. Set aside in a serving dish.
3. Cut the tomato into slices about one-fourth-inch thick and season lightly with sea salt and pepper. Set aside. Cut the red onion into very thin (about one-eighth-inch) slices and season lightly with sea salt and pepper. Set aside.
4. Crumble the blue cheese and cheddar into separate serving bowls. Slice the Gruyere with a cheese plane onto a serving plate and set aside.
Burgers and assembly
6 large sesame or poppy seed hamburger buns
Extra virgin olive oil
About 3 pounds ground beef (see note)
3 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Brush the cut side of each bun with olive oil and set aside. Light an outdoor grill or place a seasoned cast-iron skillet over high heat.
2. Being careful not to overwork the meat, shape it into 6 patties, about 2 inches thick and 4 inches in diameter. Sprinkle each side of each patty with about one-fourth teaspoon of kosher salt and 4 to 6 grindings of freshly ground black pepper.
3. Place the burgers on the hot grill or in the hot cast-iron skillet. Sear them until they can be turned without sticking, then turn them. For rare, cook about 4 minutes, then flip and cook another 4 minutes (for medium-rare, 5 minutes on each side; for medium, 6 minutes).
4. As the burgers are cooking, toast the buns, cut side on grill or pan, for a minute or two. Just before the burgers are done cooking, garnish with a little good-quality sea salt, then top with cheese and let it melt. Have guests place lettuce, onion, tomato, bacon and avocado on the bottom half of their toasted bun. Place the burger on top, then the top of the bun. Serve ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, pepperoncini and dill pickles with burgers.
Each serving (with 2 slices bacon, 1/6 an avocado and 1/2 ounce of cheese): 794 calories; 50 grams protein; 36 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams fiber; 50 grams fat; 17 grams saturated fat; 160 mg. cholesterol; 1,351 mg. sodium.