For all my moaning about the lack of cheeseburgers in Paris, I’ve never written a single post about them. Sure, I’ve gone out for them a few times, but they tend to be either outrageously expensive, downright mediocre, or both. But the fact is they are not really a difficult menu item to come by in Paris – in fact, just last Sunday the brunch special at the café downstairs from my apartment was a bacon cheeseburger with a coffee and a fresh-squeezed orange juice. For eighteen euros. Now, the dollar is getting stronger and everything, but that still seems pretty steep. That cheeseburger sounded mighty good, though.
So what happened? Well, I ventured a little further down the street, to my nearest Turkish butcher/convenience store and the closest open vegetable shop and picked up everything I needed to make some top-notch burgers, as well as some chicken and vegetables for dinner, for less than the cost of one brunch special.
As delectable as that bacon cheeseburger sounded, bacon (and cheddar, for that matter) is a bit thin on the ground in this neighborhood on Sunday afternoons, what with the French butchers being closed and the Muslim ones not so into swine. The consolation prize was mushroom-swiss burgers. (Although, strangely, the Emmenthal was hard to find, too. If I’d wanted a feta burger, I’d have been all set. Note to self.)
Nick and I have been known to make burgers from time to time. He makes the patties, mixing the ground beef with Worcestershire sauce and whatever else strikes his fancy – onions, cumin, herbs – and I make brioche for the buns. This time, what with the last-minute craving, there was no time to wait for dough to rise. So we made our burgers on thick slices of “Turkish bread.” It’s a big, soft loaf sold at all the Turkish stores on our street, and is extremely reminiscent of the “French” or “Italian” bread sold at most American supermarkets. We grated the cheese for maximum meltability, and spooned sautéed mushrooms over the cheese piled on the bread. then came the burgers themselves, and a quick toast in the oven.
Obviously, we served them with plenty of ketchup, and washed them down with Cola Turka. Yeah, nothing like cooking the American classics in Paris.
On this day in 2009: The Basque Cheeses That Shall Remain Nameless
Originally published on Croque-Camille.