March 21, 2011

The Best Burger You'll Ever Have: Burger with Sundried Tomato and Basil Aioli on a Toasted Brioche Bun

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Bryan has made a lot of burgers in his day. His trusty Weber grill went with him from Washington DC to Chicago, but unfortunately wasn't able to make the trip to New York City. In those few years though, it cooked up countless grilled burgers, seasoned with delicious seasonings, stuffed with delicious cheeses, made with warm, toasty buns. They were great. There really was no better burger. Until this.

This must be pretty good then.... I think I want it. 
As you may recall, we went to the farmer's market on Saturday. We picked up a lot of in-season vegetables, some lamb that we braised and served with a parsnip purée, a loaf of brioche bread, and some grass-fed ground angus beef. Using the fresh vegetables plus what we had on hand, we created a truly amazing, gourmet burger. It was by far one of the most flavorful burger's either of us have ever had, and the complementary flavors of the aioli and the brioche was outstanding.

Read on to see what we did so you can make it yourself!

Making the Dish

Cooking a burger inside is not nearly as straightforward as doing it on a grill. The impulse is to pan fry the burger, but we strongly urge you not to do that. It never comes out nearly as good because you don't get the caramelization and flavor lock in from a really good sear. We used our trusty cast-iron grill pan in conjunction with our oven, which is more and more becoming a great substitute for the old charcoal grill.

Purple potatoes look really cool when you slice them.
The first thing we did though, was prepare our vegetables for roasting. We had picked up purple potatoes and sweet yellow carrots from the farmer's market, so we peeled the carrots and diced everything up, threw it into a mixing bowl, and coated it with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then we laid these out on a baking dish and stuck them in an oven at 375 degrees.

Purple potatoes and yellow carrots - the official salad of the LA Lakers. Too bad we're not having them with Kobe beef. Get it? Kobe? 
The next step was forming the beef patties so they would be ready to grill. We put the beef in a mixing bowl and seasoned it with salt, pepper, cayenne, oregano, minced garlic, and about a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.

All our seasonings added to our grass-fed beef.
We kneaded this all together so that all the seasonings were equally distributed through the meat, and then formed into two equal patties which we seasoned with salt and pepper on the top and bottom. We added a dimple on the top with our thumb to facilitate the cooking.

Adding a dimple to the beef patties.
Truthfully, we probably should have made these smaller. They were, to some extent, obscenely large. But, that's another matter. For best results, use about 1/4 to 1/3 lb of beef per patty (these are closer to 1/2 lb).

Burgers start to cook over high heat.
We turned the heat under the grill pan up to high and let it get nice and hot. Then we placed the patties on and let them get a good sear, for about 5 - 6 minutes on one side. Then we flipped them, let them sear for another 3 - 4 minutes, and placed the entire thing into the oven with the roasting vegetables for about 15-20 minutes, until the juices run clear.

The joy of using a grill pan - gorgeous grill marks. 

While things are cooking, we made our aioli and toasted our brioche. For the aioli, we chopped up finely two large pieces of sundried tomatoes as well as 4 large basil leaves. We heated up about one tablespoon of olive oil in a small saucepan, and then added the tomato and let sizzle on low heat for a few minutes until the flavor diffused.

Minced sundried tomatoes, garlic, and basil in the olive oil. 
Once this was done, we grated one clove of garlic into the olive oil with the microplane and let it cook for about 30 seconds to let the flavor open up. Then we removed it from heat and added in the basil, a teaspoon of salt and a half teaspoon of pepper, stirred everything around, and let it rest for about 10 minutes for the olive oil to soak up the flavor.

Mixing our olive oil into the mayonnaise to form the aioli. 

To finish the aioli, we added two tablespoons of mayonnaise into a mixing bowl, added in the olive oil mixture with the chopped ingredients, and stirred vigorously until everything was emulsified.

Our lovely brioche.
For the brioche, in a large non-stick pan we added 1 tablespoon of butter and then we let it melt down. Then we added the brioche onto the pan, pushed it down gently, and let it cook for about 3 - 4 minutes until it started to brown. We only toasted the one side so the other side could more easily absorb the juice of the burger. Onto the un-toasted side, we spread out our aioli.

Spreading the aioli over the toasted bun.
Finally, we added one last ingredient, since we had it on hand: mozzarella. We figured that with the basil, sundried tomato, and oregano in the meat, the mozzarella would be right at home. We placed one slice of the fresh mozzarella over each burger and put it under the broiler to melt it down quickly.

Mozzarella in all of it's melty goodness on our burgers.
Finally, we took everything out of the oven. We placed the vegetables onto the plates while letting the burgers sit for a few minutes to let the juices redistribute and finish the cooking. Then we placed the burgers onto the brioche buns, topped them, sliced them down the middle, and plated them.

Slicing through our ginormous burgers.

The Result

We only needed one bite to know these were the best burgers we'd ever had. The sweet, buttery, crunchiness of the brioche, with the savory creamy sweet aioli, complemented perfectly the mozzarella and the nicely seasoned and perfectly juicy beef. It was a perfect flavor combination, and was impossible to put down.

The seasoned potatoes and carrots on the side were a great compliment to the burger. Where normally you'd be reaching for fries on the side, these were a great substitute, with a similar flavor profile but much less greasy and more complex.

Overall, this was a standout meal, one of the best we've made in a while, and all it took was the right combination of flavors, the right timing on the oven roasting, and not much else effort! This is definitely something you should try out on your next burger night!

Burgers with Sundried Tomato and Basil Aioli

Written by:

These delicious burgers are made even better by the tasty aioli

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:

(Serves: 2)

For the burgers:
2/3 lb grass-fed ground beef
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic

For the buns:
4 slices challah bread
1 tablespoon butter

For the aioli:
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 sundried tomatoes
4 basil leaves
1 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons pepper

For the side:
4 small purple potatoes
3 small sweet yellow carrots
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. This burger looks SO AMAZING. That picture of the burger with melted mozzarella.. no words.

    Herbie, you are one lucky kitteh.

  2. Thanks Lisa. It was just as good as it looks. Seriously, we were shocked.

  3. i am a vegan. yet i read intently all of your posts coz i just love your blog. and herbie.. if only i could give him a big hug from here..

  4. The burger looks great... :) If I ate meat I'd be ALL over this! Your kitty is just too cute.

  5. yummy burger... i'm thankful i came across your blog, i love cooking as well but still learning more to be a good cook... i might try some of your recipe here one of these days :)

  6. Didn't realize there were so many vegetarian/vegan foodies reading us :) Glad you like it anyway. We'll try to feature more veggie items soon!

    Let us know if you have any questions as you start to try things out kris10na!

  7. Beautiful Pictures and the burgers look delish!!! I am definately going to look through your blog for some new delicious ideas :)

    Love how you incorporated your cat...too cute!

    Check out my blog---I'd love feedback! :)

  8. wow very tastefull .. hmmmm and cute herbie...

  9. vegan??? no, this looks superb, will definitely try this....

  10. Thank you guys for the kind words! Herbie is such a ham for the camera, he'll really appreciate your comments.

    Ms. Dinners-Dates: whoa, that fried chocolate and strawberry Quesadilla looks amazing! That would be such an awesome desert to go along with a Mexican themed meal like Enchiladas Verdes. Thanks for sharing!

  11. AMAZING!!! this is exactly the kind of blog i can really sink my teeth into.... (yeah i made a pun =] )
    great looking recipe and adorable kitty haha!

  12. After I pulled some frozen split pea soup from the freezer last week, my family has stopped talking to me. Found your site. Maybe these recipes will bring them back? Thanks for the great site.


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