Can you remember when your love affair began with your favorite restaurant? I can.
It was our half-day off from our Asheville Bed and Breakfast and James and I had been to an afternoon movie. We were talking about where we should go for dinner and I said I wanted a burger. For those of you who know me this is highly unusual. For the most part, I treat meat like a side-dish, favoring vegetables and salads. James feels differently and was more than willing to indulge me. After thinking about it for a bit, we decided to go to the Junction in the River Arts District where I had the best burger I have ever had in my life, bar none.
Grass-fed beef from a local farm was topped with thick slices of fried green tomato which in turn was topped with tender bits of pulled pork. There was a sauce, which I can’t remember exactly, but it was delicious, and the whole thing was in a homemade roll. It was awesome.
But in the way of all of the best restaurants, time moves on, seasons change and so does the menu. The Junction continues to produce fabulous burgers of all combinations but there is nothing like your first burger-love. So this summer I decided to try and create my own burger, a la The Junction.
First the beef. Hickory Nut Gap Farm is renowned for its pork and beef products in this region. They practice organic, sustainable animal husbandry. I know because a friend of ours lives on the farm and I have seen the cows move from pasture to pasture, and walked past happy pigs. I’ve also talked with Jaime Ager, one of the owners of the farm, whose philosophy about farming is borne out by the quality of its products. We get a CSA from HNG so I just happened to have a couple of pounds of ground beef in my freezer.
We also happened to have a bumper crop of tomatoes coming in. We had to rescue the plot from marauding rabbits this past week but now that the fence is in place and the harvest seems safe I was happy to sacrifice a few green tomatoes to my meal. Growing next to the tomatoes are jalapenos (which the rabbits have no interest in). Just last week I candied a bunch of these lovely peppers and I decided to make a cilantro- Jalapeno sauce to top my burger.
A phone call to our daughter, Sarah, brought a delivery of pulled pork from Luella’s BBQas well as another willing diner. James fired up the grill and we were off! You can find my recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes on my blog. I am assuming you know how to grill a burger. If you have pulled pork leftover this is a great way to use it up. Otherwise you will need to find a BBQ joint to order from. Lastly, here is the recipe for my Jalapeno-Cilantro Aoili with Lime.
JALAPENO- CILANTRO AOILI WITH LIME
1/4 c good quality Mayonnaise
1 cup Cilantro leaves and stems
1/2 Lime juiced
1 tblsp Candied Jalapeno
Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or blender and whirr together until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.
Doesn’t get much easier than this!