Celebrated chef Mark McEwan scandalized Torontonians a number of years ago by making one of Canada's most expensive, and famous $35 truffled Bymark Burger. That was before words like 'grass-fed,' 'heritage' and 'dry-aged' entered into the burger lexicon. The city is now crammed with craft burgers, and carnivores no longer flinch at steep price tags. Competitive chefs bring in whole cows from nearby farms, bake their own buns, smoke their own bacon, replace ketchup with tomato chutney and source the most pungent cheeses they can get their hands on.
Chef McEwan's burger is constructed from premium steak rather than the customary second rate cuts. And that’s what it tastes like – great steak – which is why it's seasoned and dressed up with such respect. It all adds up to the finest burger I've ever enjoyed...anywhere. If you can't make it to Bymark, you can always create your own Bymark Burger using Chef McEwan's secret recipe and crown this summer's grilling season with the ultimate in burgerdom.
The Bymark Burger
2 lb PEI grass-fed, or USDA Prime beef strip loin, medium ground
4 premium quality hamburger buns (ACE Bakery)
2 tbsp butter
1/4 lb King Oyster mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb aged Brie de Meaux, sliced cold into eight 1/4-inch thick slices
8 leaves red leaf lettuce
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Truffle oil, to taste
1 cup canola oil
1 large egg yolk
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp white truffle paste
Salt and pepper to taste
For the aïoli, add the egg yolk to a food processor then slowly drizzle in the oil until a mayonnaise-like consistency is achieved. Then add the remaining ingredients while the processor is running. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Form the burgers into 4 1-inch thick patties, using just the ground beef, then rub them with olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper.
Preheat an outdoor barbecue to high and lightly oil the hot side of the grill. Sear the burgers well on both sides, then relocate them to the more temperate side of grill until they achieve the preferred level of doneness, about 12 minutes for medium-rare. Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter and once they've softened, mark them on the grill. Grill the buns and butter them lightly. Just before the burgers are complete, top each patty with Brie de Meaux, and allow to melt slightly.
To assemble, spread about a tablespoon of aïoli on the bottom of each bun. Add the lettuce, then the burgers, and top with the mushrooms, a few drops of truffle oil, and a sprig of basil. Top the burgers with top bun halves and allow to rest for six or seven minutes, roughly half their cooking time. Serve each burger with a ramekin of aïoli, and enjoy!