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This Old Chef: Blog & Recipes

Sorta Salisbury (Hamburgers with Shiitake Mushrooms, Shallots, Sherry, Rosemary, and Cream)

Posted on November 1, 2018 with 0 comments


For some unfathomable reason, Salisbury steak has popped up in discussions over the past few days.

The idea of an actual Salisbury steak holds no appeal for me, especially three times a day, as Dr. James Henry Salisbury intended when he introduced this dish to the world in 1888.  But when Charlie requested a burger the other night, I thought it might be fun to play around with some of the elements.

I had some fresh shiitake mushrooms from the test kitchen, so I minced a shallot and the shiitakes and sautéed them in EVOO.  To boost the umami factor, I added a large pinch of my porcini salt (thank you again, Kay Chun!).  When everybody was softened and starting to brown, I added a splash of sherry, 1T minced rosemary, and a splash of white wine.  I let all of this reduce until almost dry, and then... don’t hate me... I added heavy cream.  Then I let that bubble gently away, and tasted for salt and (especially) black pepper.

Next, I made my usual basic burger:  a touch of smoked salt, a ton of black pepper, and a very, very hot cast iron skillet dusted with kosher salt.  I plated some undressed arugula (Really, there’s mushroom cream sauce and burger juices... Who needs dressing?!?), gently reheated some mashed potatoes (topped with chives to freshen them up), the burger... and the truly extravagantly delicious sauce.

No, this is not the Salisbury steak of your childhood or grade school nightmares.  This is a reinvention.  An amazing step up!  This was one of those giggly sit-at-table-for-hours kind of meals.  Try it.  Trust me.  Even if you don’t have the bizarre semi-fond memories of Salisbury steak that I do.