The burger as we know it first appeared on the menu of New York’s famous Delmonico’s restaurant in 1934. In spite of its sorry image, it is a legitimate, honest meal that should be brought back into the fold of good home cooking as soon as possible. The beetroot is optional (mandatory for Australians).
Heat olive oil and cook onion until it softens, then set aside. Bake peppers in moderate oven for 30 minutes until they darken. Let cool, and peel off skins. Cut in half lengthwise, discard seeds, and trim into 4 pieces. Slice trimmings into strips and set aside.
Soak white bread in milk, and squeeze dry and finely chop. Mix minced beef, bread, herbs, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add egg, and mix well with your hands, squeezing and kneading. Form into four large patties, cover with plastic wrap and chill until needed.
Mash blue cheese, mix with mayonnaise and chill. Grill pancetta or bacon, and lightly toast halved rolls. Heat extra olive oil in heavy-based frypan and cook burgers for 3 or 4 minutes on either side, depending on thickness.
To assemble, place rocket leaves on a toasted half bun. Top with roasted red pepper, burger, beetroot (optional), pancetta or bacon, red pepper strips and a dollop of blue cheese mayonnaise.
© 1998 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.