Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mushroom Swiss Burger

I tried to stay away from the totally obvious recipes this week for mushroom week but there is one I can't pass up.

The mushroom Swiss burger is a classic.  It's on menus, dinner plates and backyard grills everywhere.  

But first, it's mushroom week...

Today's topic is the care and handling of fresh mushrooms

Before I could understand how to care for harvested mushrooms, I had to learn about what happens to them once harvested.  What surprised me is that the mushroom is very much like meat when harvested.   At first, it's a lot like dry aging beef.  Enzymes react and start breaking down the mushroom into flavorful amino acids and the 'shrooms start to lose moisture, concentrating flavor.  

The problem is that occurs much faster than the long periods of dry aging beef, it happens in something more like 4 days (McGee 9489) instead of the month or more that beef needs.  After that, the process begins to shift from "aging" to "deterioration".  That is why buying fresh mushrooms from a local source is better than buying "fresh" mushrooms that you have no idea how long it took to get from farm to shelf. 

The good news is that you can slow that whole process with a two practices.
  • Keep it cool, fool.  Refrigeration at 40-45f slows the activity of the enzymes and will prolong the life of your mushrooms.  
  • Keep it dry, guy.  As mushrooms age, they will give up moisture.  While that does concentrate the flavors, moisture condensing on the surface of the mushrooms invite bacteria which begins spoilage.  If you buy one of those cellophane wrapped pack of mushrooms, take them out, and store them in a closed paper bag.  
Speaking of dry, that's another area of controversy.  I have read, heard, and been told a kajillion times NOT to wash mushrooms because they'll soak up all that water, be mushy, and bland.  So I was surprised to learn that it is fine to wash them in water as long as you use them immediately afterwards (FlavorBible 15282 and McGee 9490). 

Truth be told, I wasn't even going to post a recipe for this because it's just a burger.  Grill your burger, throw Swiss cheese on it and top with some sauteed mushrooms.

Grilled Mushroom Swiss Burger
Serves 4
  • 4 ciabatta rolls
  • 4 slices baby Swiss cheese 
For the burger patties
  • 1.25 lb ground chuck
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp whatever signature seasoning you want to add
For the mushrooms
  • 8 oz white mushrooms, sliced 
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, finely minced
  1. Preheat a charcoal grill set up for direct heat to 450f.
  2. Mix the burger ingredients together and form into four 5 ounce patties about 1/2 inch thick.
  3. Grill patties for 4 minutes per side. Top with a slice of cheese during the last minute.
  4. Remove and keep warm.
  5. Place a skillet on the grill and melt the butter.  
  6. Add the mushrooms and cook 6 minutes, tossing frequently.  
  7. Add the garlic and parsley, cook two more minutes or until the mushroom liquids are mostly evaporated.
  8. Serve burgers topped with the 'shrooms.


  1. Well now doesn't that mushroom burger look absolutely wonderful! I've not had one for years because of a bad one...if you can imagine any burger being bad, Red Robin Restaurant served me an under cooked, falling apart mess of a mushroom burger once. Ok, now that I've got that out of my system, I must make me a schroom burger. :)

  2. Chris, a burger is NEVER "just a burger." It's one of my favourite food groups. :o)

  3. You keep this up, fungi are going to start growing out your ears. The burger sounds great. Alton Brown did a mushroom test on TV a few years ago by weighing, then washing, then weighing again and he found negligible weight gain from washing.

  4. This is my favorite burger! Yours looks absolutely fabulous. I did not know that the gills could bleed and dye other foods. Good to know.

  5. What a fun-guy! Great looking burger. Jacques Pepin agrees about washing mushrooms right before using them.

  6. Sometimes its not the recipe, it's the idea behind it. This sounds wonderful - love the sauteed mushrooms on the swiss burger - yum!

  7. Great presentation Chris. Pictures are great and very valuable information. Thanks.

  8. I couldn't pass this one up... it looks FANTASTIC!! Wow, wow, wow.

  9. It may be just a burger but it makes me very happy! And it looks insanely good. Burgers are going on the menu this week!

  10. Mushrooms and Swiss cheese. Great combo.

    I do not really care for omeletes Unless.

  11. Chris, there is nothing about that mouthwatering picture that is just a burger. The mushrooms look perfect and I immediately craved them. I need to buy some asap. I've really enjoyed all of the 'shroom info this week!

  12. Oh WOW, that looks absolutely fantastic! I could eat that right now, I don't care that it's only 5:30 in the morning!!

  13. Chris, this looks fantastic great pic. Thanks for sharing


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