Whether the outdoor temperature is as warm as we want or not, spring officially arrives this weekend. After a record-setting winter in many parts of the Northeast, will anything taste as good as spring’s first hamburger from the grill?
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market features several farms offering ground beef so you can construct the season’s perfect burger. You can be a purist and just use meat. Or, blend in other items you enjoy, such as chopped onions or scallions, herbs, grated carrot, fresh breadcrumbs, and maybe an egg for binding it all together. The market has other types of ground meat as well, which provide further flavor options and extensions.
At Longlesson Farm, Christophe Robert and his wife, Shannon, work together with Shannon’s parents, Bob and Melanie Mason, to raise Angus cattle. The cattle graze on the pasture land and are never fed any grain.
Christophe Robert notes that ground beef is an easy entry point for consumers who are interesting in cooking grass-fed beef. “It’s quite easy to make a good burger. At the market, I like to show people a simple trick to determine whether the burger on the grill is done cooking. Using this method, a simple poke of the finger will tell when the burger is rare, medium, or well-done.” (Talk to Christophe at Longlesson’s market table to learn his trick!)
Ground beef is also available at the winter Market from Lewis Waite Farm, M&A Farm, and Malta Ridge Orchard & Gardens. Each farm has its particular method of raising its cattle and caring for the land on which the animals graze, so ask questions at the market to determine the best selection for your tastes and preferences.
Here is a market recipe for your first “cook out” of the season—even if you still have to “eat in” due to the outside temperatures.
Spring’s Best Hamburgers
*Items available at the Market
2 pounds ground beef*
3 cloves minced garlic*
½ cup minced onion* or scallions*
2 Tbsp. finely chopped basil*
1 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley*
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Several “twists” of freshly ground pepper
In large bowl, mix all ingredients thoroughly.
Refrigerate meat mixture for 1-2 hours to allow flavors to blend.
Preheat grill to medium high heat.
Form meat into ½” thick hamburger patties of desired size. (Two pounds of ground beef should make 6-8 burgers.)
Place burgers on grill and cook to desired doneness.