Who knew 8-year-olds could be such good cooks? That was my takeaway when I first started watching “MasterChef Junior” with my own children, who aren’t nearly as capable in the kitchen as these reality TV stars.
But now that the show is in its sixth season, I’m not surprised when one of the contestants, who are no older than 13, whips out pumpkin ravioli or a West Indian lobster curry. Last year, Clarkson Potter published a collection of recipes from these young home cooks, many of which are adult-level challenging. This burger, however, is one you could make with your kids, especially now that the weather is nice enough for grilling.
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Italian Burgers with Kalamata Olive Relish
Feel free to play around with substituting different kinds of sausage or meat in place of the sausage and beef. For instance, if you like the flavor of lamb, you could turn these into Mediterranean burgers by using a mixture of ground lamb and beef, and topping with feta instead of provolone. These are from Season 1 contestant Gavin Pola, who was 10 when he competed in 2013.
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For the olive relish:
1 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1 cup mayonnaise
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the burgers:
1 lb. mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 pound ground beef
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1 red onion, thickly sliced
4 slices provolone cheese
4 brioche buns, sliced in half
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
Make the olive relish: In a blender or food processor, combine the olives and mayonnaise and blend until smooth. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Make the burgers: In a large bowl, combine the sausage, ground beef, garlic and Italian seasoning. Form four patties that are slightly wider than the buns.
Heat a grill to medium or a grill pan over medium heat. Sear the patties, flipping once, until cooked through to your preference, about 4 minutes per side for medium or an internal temperature of 130 degrees. While the burgers cook, sear the red onion as well, if you like grilled onions, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Just before the burgers are finished cooking, place the sliced cheese on top and let melt. Toast the buns.
To serve, spread olive relish on one side of a toasted bun. Add the meat, grilled onion, tomato, arugula and finally the top bun. Serves 4.
— From “ MasterChef Junior Cookbook: Bold Recipes and Essential Techniques to Inspire Young Cooks” (Clarkson Potter, $19.99)
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