Prune Cheeseburger

Food borders on obsession with me. No, it doesn’t border on anything – I’m being coy. Food is my obsession. I’m not alone. I share this passion with many. One friend of mine — I call her The Scout — tries out restaurants immediately after reading reviews. Sometimes we sample them together.

Her recent find was a bomb and I came home like a cranky three-year-old who hadn’t been fed. I took one bite of their well-reviewed, raved-about-on-Yelp cheeseburger, and pushed it away. I couldn’t bear to tell the waiter how much I loathed it. Everything the restaurant served was just so rich, I want to rename the place Truffles and Gruyere.   I have a few girlfriends who love overly rich food. They should go back to this new restaurant together, because I’m out.

Since I’m not the biggest meat-eater and ate only one bite of that particular cheeseburger, I am now out-of-control craving my favorite cheeseburger.  Let me tell you about it. It is served three thousand miles away. No, I take that back. It used to be served. It was on this restaurant’s lunch menu, but now they are only open for dinner. If you call Prune, in the East Village in Manhattan, to ask about their famous cheeseburger, they refer you to an online recipe. As if. I’m not that handy in the kitchen and I prefer ordering my burgers, not preparing them.


Totally off subject, but don’t worry, I’ll swing it back around…

I’m a bit of a “germaphobe.” Whenever friends ask how I feel, I might say, “I think I’m coming down with something.” But then I don’t. But now I did. After five years of saying “I think I’m coming down with something,” I had to text my best friend with the announcement: Finally got that sore throat. I should really start sporting a SARS mask.

Staying off subject…

Mother’s day was just a few days before, and my kids were here, and afterwards, on the phone, my younger son admitted that he had a sore throat when he visited. So yay on that great Mother’s Day gift. It’s a very good thing my house is currently filled with Mother’s Day flowers because I feel like death.

Heading back toward subject…

My husband offered to go to the market to pick up some things I needed to make myself some soothing soup.  I wrote out a list on one of the many pads that real estate peeps drop off – I’ve amassed quite a collection. They ring my doorbell hoping I will sell. I never open it and announce through the intercom before they finish their pitch, “I’m planning on dying in this house!” Only now I feel it’s imminent.

We’re here…

My list: I needed carrots. Celery. Organic vegetable broth. Organic frozen spinach. Organic lemons. Parsley, but Italian. Cannellini beans. Broccoli florets. Then I wrote a second list on the other side of the Harrington Schwartz Team for the cheeseburger I’d been craving and now will have to make myself: Plain parsley. Garlic. Grassfed beef. Shallots. He looked at the two lists and said, “This isn’t a grocery list it’s a scavenger hunt.”


While he was at the market, I realized I was low on butter and texted him, “Sorry, please get unsalted sweet butter without hormones.” He texted back: “Not even a little testosterone?”

Then I spent the next hour preparing the cheeseburger I had to have. Did I mention I was sick? I’m about to share the recipe, but let me be honest about one thing – I didn’t buy the lamb and sirloin. I stuck to grassfed beef. If you’re making it, please follow the proper recipe. Mine didn’t turn out perfect, and I wasn’t all that sated, to be honest. I just wish I knew of a restaurant that served this particular brilliant burger. If you have a favorite hamburger in your city, please let me know. In the meantime, have fun on your scavenger hunt – the recipe for the Prune cheeseburger is printed below.

Serves 4

2 cloves garlic

¾ cups peeled and roughly chopped shallots

2 cups picked, clean parsley leaves

3½ teaspoons coarse kosher salt (do not use fine iodized salt)

1 pound unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, at room temperature

1 pound excellent-quality ground chuck

½ pound excellent-quality ground lamb

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 ounces sharp white cheddar (sliced into 4 slices)

Thomas’ Original sandwich-size English muffins

In a food processor, chop the garlic and shallots finely. Add parsley leaves and 1½ teaspoons salt, and also process to fine. Add butter and process to smooth and emerald-green.

Run your hands under very cold water for a minute — this will keep the meat from getting gummy — then gently combine the two meats. Divide the meat into four equal portions (six ounces each), then gently form into patties that are 1¼ inches thick and three inches in diameter. Season each patty all over — top, bottom, and the circumference — with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Touch the patties as tenderly and as little as possible — the more you manhandle and compact the meat, the tougher it becomes.

Heat a cast-iron skillet on low heat for two minutes, then increase the heat to medium-high, add 1 tablespoon oil, and place patties in pan. Cover with a splatter screen, if you own one, to minimize the mess on your stove top. Cook for seven minutes on one side, flip, and cook for five more minutes. Do not turn, touch, press down on, or otherwise molest the burgers while they are cooking. Place cheese on top and either place in a hot oven or under the broiler until the cheese is just melted but not liquefied.

Split four of the English muffins by deeply pricking them along the horizontal seam with the tines of a dinner fork. Toast well and generously smear both the tops and the bottoms with the room-temperature parsley-shallot butter, “wall to wall” as we say at Prune, so that every bite will be seasoned and not just the center ones. (The remaining butter can be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for up to six weeks — it is delicious on everything from toast to steak.) Place the burgers on the bottoms and close with the buttered English muffin lids.



Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to “Sated”

  1. P says:


  2. gari says:

    fredde you always make me smile~i am so sorry you were ill but it inspired you to write this wonderfully funny and interesting post~i do not eat any form of meat but i remember when i did and i am sure this was absolutely delicious! i am going to save this for my mom who does like burgers! i would be interestd in your recipe for vegatable soup if you ever have time~i am now hungry so i will be ordering a pizza without meat~xxx

Leave a Reply