A southwestern flavor in cooking has long been something I jump to the table for. Suppose it’s the legacy of my few trips to Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, where most restaurants apart from Taco Hell offered up great eats during my visits. I still remember with longing food I ate in Sedona, Arizona, Santa Fe and Houston. But as much as I like southwestern cooking, I’ve never had any special skill in preparing it myself. The other day a lady in the supermarket told me how to make a simple hamburger with the distinctive flavor of the southwest.
She called it a green chile burger, which I know doesn’t especially trigger fireworks and lip-licking, but you can call it something else. I kind of like…
BORDER TOWN BURGERS
Here’s what you need:
1 pound of ground beef
1 package of hamburger buns
3-4 slices of Monterey Jack (or other) cheese
4-5 teaspoons of Old El Paso chopped green chiles
1 package of Southwest ranch salad kit (Et Tu brand)
2 good handfuls of bite-sized mixed greens
Dash of Zatarain’s Creole seasoning
Salt & pepper
Here’s what you do:
Season the ground beef with salt & pepper and a dash of Zatarain’s.
Shape the meat into patties and place them on a medium high grill, or in a frying pan.
Cook them for 3-4 minutes, then add a couple of spoons of the green chile and a slice of cheese.
Combine the two packages from the salad mix with the greens. Add half the dressing and toss.
Place the hamburger patties on the bottom half of a toasted bun; top it with the salad mix.
Add the top bun and there you have it.
SIDE DISH • PORTABELLA FRIES
1 package of sliced portabella mushrooms (about 12 ounces)
Grated Parmesan cheese
Pre-heat the oven to 425° F
Spread olive oil on a baking sheet (cookie sheet).
Beat the eggs in a bowl.
Combine about a cup of Parmesan cheese and a cup of the breadcrumbs.
Dip the sliced mushrooms (one by one) into the egg, and then in the cheese-breadcrumb mix. As best you can, coat them evenly.
Place them on the baking sheet and drizzle some olive oil over them.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Turn the mushrooms and bake for another 5-7 minutes.
These are delicious and you might try them dipped in what’s left of the ranch dressing.
I don’t know a southwestern expression, so I’ll use the French and just say, bon appétit!