Hotdogs are probably one of my favourite things to eat – ever. I might even love them more than burgers.
The most important thing for me when it comes to a hotdog is sausage overhang. The sausage absolutely must be longer than the bun... because while people might get sick of eating the bun, nobody ever leaves the dog behind. Another important hotdog element is the ‘snap’ you get when you bite into the skin of the sausage. We worked with our smallgoods maker on all kinds of combinations of casings and meats but it comes down, for us, to a Vienna-style sausage in a beef casing. They make 2,000 of them each week just for us.
The El Loco dog is a hotdog on steroids. Because the restaurant came together in literally a matter of days, we looked at the other condiments we had created for the restaurant: pico de gallo and jalapeños, being a couple of them. These ingredients not only give the dish its Mexican feel, but also add acidity and brightness. Next, a hotdog needs mustard and relish. Our answer to that is a blend of the two: a honey mustard combined with blended gherkins for that familiar flavour, while Japanese mayo is another (subjective, but) great thing to have in there too. Rather than chunky tasty cheese, we found haloumi was easy to microplane, giving the hotdog an almost halo of cheese on top. We never thought it would become the best-selling item on the menu, but it just goes to show how much of a crowd-pleaser a hotdog can be.
Start with the pico de gallo. Mix all the ingredients together and season with salt to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the mustard relish, pulse the pickles in a food processor until they’ve become small cubes. Add the mustard and honey and blend to combine. Decant into a squeezie bottle and set aside in the fridge.
To cook the frankfurts, heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the dogs until heated through and the casings are nicely caramelised.
Meanwhile, line a bamboo steamer with baking paper. Put the buns inside, place over a saucepan of simmering water and steam for 30 seconds. Once this is done, halve the buns lengthways and place the frankfurt inside. Insert a few pickled jalapeño slices under the dog and put more on top. Spoon a liberal layer of pico de gallo over this, covering most of the frankfurt. Next, squiggle over some mustard relish and Japanese mayonnaise. Using a microplane, liberally grate haloumi cheese all over the top. Serve immediately.
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