One of the menu items for my recent 24, 24, 24 submission was an ode to White Castle burgers, at least that’s where the inspiration started. Since White Castle originated in Ohio, this seemed a fun menu item to throw into the mix as the Midwest’s representative.
First, I researched what all went into those little burgers. I remember how much I loved them while visiting Missouri. I can still picture the perfect little bread squares, the thin oniony patty and how moist it all was. From that memory, I knew I wanted to mimic the moist patty and the onion topping. I needed to decide on the bread.
I found suggestions to use hot dog buns cut in half, but I wanted more. This was the Midwest; corn is big there, isn’t it? So first I thought of cornbread, then I was hit by the lightbulb. Corn Fritters. Oh yeah. A new burger was born.
Note: This was an 8-course meal I was preparing for, so I made the onions and fried the corn pancakes ahead of time. You can do the same. Also, I served these open-faced–with a pancake at the bottom only, you decide if you want to sandwich them or not.
Burgers on Corn Pancakes with Caramelized Onions
For the Burgers:
1 lb. ground sirloin (use good quality meat)
2 tsps Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsps extra virgin olive oil
Drop all the ingredients except for the beef into your blender and liquify, then add the mixture to the beef. Mix it in by hand and shape into balls just slightly larger than a golf ball. Set aside in your fridge until ready to cook.
When you’re ready to serve them, heat a medium-sized skillet until smoky. Drop 2 or 3 of the meatballs, leaving enough room between them. Flatten them out and cook for a few minutes on either side. Once you’ve flipped them, top it with one of the cooked corn pancakes. This will allow the flavor of the beef to permeate the pancake. Remove from the skillet, top with the onions before serving.
For the Caramelized Onions:
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp brow sugar
3 tbsps sherry (or cooking wine)
2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
Sea salt & black pepper, to taste
I used my mandolin to slice the onions. I love my mandolin, it makes my life beautiful and easy when I’m facing tasks such as this one. It made slicing that onion a breeze, it took me less than 5 minutes to end up with these beautiful slices.
Heat up a saute pan over medium high heat and add the olive oil and butter until it melts. Then add the onions and cook them until they begin to soften.
Add the sugar, this will help caramelize the onions, browning them. Once they have browned, add the sherry and vinegar. Cook until it evaporates. Check and adjust seasoning as desired. Use to top the burger patties.
For the Corn Pancakes:
3 ears of corn, shucked (about 1-1/2 cups)
2 tbsps butter, melted
3 ozs whole milk
1/2 cp cheese (like Gouda, Emmentaler)
1/3 cp flour
1/2 cp coarse yellow cornmeal
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
Oil for frying
After you’ve removed the kernels from the cob, add all the ingredients except the cheese and oil to your blender or food processor. Blitz it just a couple of times, you want it to be chunky. Then mix in the cheese by hand.
In a nonstick skillet, heat up enough oil to fry the pancakes, you want it to be about 1/4 inch deep. Heat the oil over medium high heat and drop the corn batter using a 1/4 cp measuring laddle or cup. Brown it on both sides, it will take about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove and keep warm.
Putting it all together: After topping the patty with one of the pancakes and allowing the pancake to heat through on the skillet, invert it onto the plate. If serving open-face: top the patty with a dollop of onions. If planning to sandwich it, place the second pancake over the patty, then top with the onions.
These are AMAZING. Do enjoy.