Backyard Burger

Photo: Travis Rathbone

The Backyard Burger
When it comes to burgers, chef Nancy Silverton has a simple philosophy: "The key is to choose toppings that complement the flavor of the meat," she says. "There's a reason that cheese, onions, pickles, and bacon are traditional: They're strong enough to stand up to the intense flavor of beef, while adding a little something extra."

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Egg Burger

Photo: Travis Rathbone

Open-Faced Burger with Bacon, Egg, and Frisée Salad
For this burger, Silverton and Pressman started with the idea of the classic French bistro salad frisée aux lardons, with its gooey egg and crispy bacon. "The egg yolk runs into the meat and adds another layer of richness," Pressman says. "I eat it like I would a steak, with a fork and knife." The chefs suggest using coarsely ground meat to make a more tender burger. They like working with a butcher (the ones in the supermarket are just fine), who can grind a piece of meat on the spot. "For the best flavor, choose a cut that's 20 percent fat, like ground chuck," Pressman says.

You Can Also Try These Toppings:
  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Pimento and Cheese
  • Smoky Piquillo Peppers
  • BBQ Sauce
Get the Open-Faced Burger with Bacon, Egg, and Frisée Salad with Coleslaw recipe

Photo: Travis Rathbone

Thanksgiving Turkey Burger
White-meat turkey burgers can be dry, so Pressman and Silverton use a mix of white meat, dark meat, and skin (ask a butcher to grind the combination for you). "Turkey has a mild flavor, so the best toppings are mostly neutral-tasting foods," Silverton says. The trimmings here were inspired by Thanksgiving stuffing: leeks, celery, and sage, plus a spoonful of cranberry sauce for a dash of brightness and acidity.

You Can Also Try These Toppings:
  • Coleslaw & Gruyère
  • Sautéed Mushrooms & Spinach
  • Prosciutto & Provolone Cheese
Get the Thanksgiving Turkey Burger recipe

Get the Sweet Potato Fries recipe
Veggie Burger

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Brown Rice and Lentil Burger
"To come up with topping ideas for vegetarian burgers, I think of a big bowl of plain rice—what could I add to that bowl that would taste delicious?" Silverton says. Sharp cheeses like the shredded white Cheddar pictured here are a good option, as are roasted red peppers. These toppings can also give a flavor boost to store-bought veggie burgers or grilled portobello mushrooms.

You Can Also Try These Toppings:
  • Teriyaki sauce and shredded lettuce
  • Soy cheese and avocado
  • Smoked mozzarella with any type of pickled vegetable
Get the Brown Rice and Lentil Burger recipe
Pork Burger

Photo: Travis Rathbone

Pork Burger with Pesto and Brie
Pork burgers pair well with any ingredients or spices you might add to a sausage or ham dish. Pressman loves pasta with hot Italian sausage and sautéed broccoli rabe, so for this burger she purees broccoli rabe for a pesto (you can substitute store-bought basil pesto) and adds crushed red pepper to mimic the spiciness of sausage. For the burger itself, ask the butcher to grind a piece of pork shoulder.

You Can Also Try These Toppings:
  • Avocado, tomatillo salsa and pepper jack cheese
  • A grilled pineapple slice and jarred jalapeño
  • Grilled peach slices
Get the Pork Burger with Pesto and Brie recipe

Get the Strawberry Ice Cream Float recipe

Photo: Thinkstock

Turkey Burger with Coleslaw and Gruyère
This turkey burger with a twist uses a traditional barbeque side—coleslaw—for a crunchy kick.

Get the Turkey Burger with Coleslaw and Gruyère recipe