½ small wheel. Camembert or Brie, sliced vertically
½ cup. Whole Grain Mustard
2 ea. Brioche Burger Bun, split horizontally. Or your favorite bun
Large Cast iron skillet
Medium saucepan with lid
Large round biscuit or cookie cutter
Begin by caramelizing the onions. Heat a medium saucepan on high heat until rippin’ hot. Add a bit of olive oil and the onions. Stir until the onions are coated in oil. Add liberal amount of kosher salt and continue stirring until the onions are soft and fragrant. Turn the heat to low and cover. Cook for 5-8 minutes until liquid has rendered from the onions and is simmering in the pan. Remove the lid and slowly cook down the onions until the liquid is gone, stirring all the time. The onions should achieve a chestnut brown color. Remove from heat and reserve.
Prepare the burgers. Form the 80/20 ground chuck into baseball sized spheres. 8 oz. each. Slap the spheres between your hands a few times to remove any air pockets. Place the beef into the large biscuit cutter to create the perfect patty. Repeat with the other patty.
Heat the cast iron skillet on high heat until it’s rippin’. Introduce the beef patty to the cast iron. Sear for 3-4 minutes, while liberaly sprinkling the raw side of the patty with kosher salt. Flip the patty and add a spoon full of caramelized onions to the cooked side. Top with 2 slices of camembert and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes for a medium doneness. While your beef is cooking add a bit of butter to the part of the cast iron that's not being used and toast your brioche buns for 30 seconds on each side.
Assemble the Pascal burger. On both the top and bottom bun, add a solid swipe of whole grain mustard. Add the camembert patty to the bottom bun and top with a healthy dose of the sliced cornichons. Add the top bun and get after it!!!
For the true experience, wrap the burger in foil and let all the ingredients mingle together for a few minutes before enjoying.
The Pascal Burger came about in the twilight of 2011. I was a roundsman at the best restaurant, with the best crew in the history of the world, Contigo Austin. As a result of being part of that exceptional team, I was invited to be the executive chef of a brand new, French gastro-pub, Hopfields.
The main appeal to me of Hopfields, besides the fame, was being a part of opening a new place and writing a brand new menu. The concept of the menu was born from the matriarch of family and her French lineage. We had the standards; ratatouille, jambon beurre and salade Niçose. The idea the owners had for the hamburger, however, was just weird.
Before the couple that owned Hopfields broke ground on the restaurant, they traveled to Paris to visit a friend. The friend’s name was Pascal.
In a true act of Parisian hospitality, Pascal, on the first night of his guest’s visit, prepared a Texas classic. The hamburger. Pascal, having never been to the USA, prepared his best interpretation of everyone's favorite sandwich. What he did as is follows;
Begin with ground French beef. Pack it loosely into a ball. Chop up some raw white onions and cornichons. Place the beef between French sandwich bread, add the onions, cornichons, ketchup, whole grain mustard. Top it with some slices of Brie. Wrap it all in foil and bake it in a 350 degree oven for 20 -30 minutes until “done.”
When presented with the idea for this recipe, I immediately nixed the idea. Not because it wasn’t brilliant and I wasn’t intrigued. But because in a gastro-pub setting, we needed to be able to pick up the food quickly and keep our guests happy. So, here’s my iteration of the Pascal burger. It ended up being our signature dish and won acclaim city wide. Enjoy.
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