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Grilled hamburger with tomato mostarda, arugula, and blue cheese

When Chef Nathan Lyon spoke to a group at Thomas F. Chapman Family Cancer Wellness at Piedmont, he shared his love for fresh, wholesome and easy-to-prepare food. Here, he offers a fresh take on a tailgate favorite from his book Great Food Starts Fresh.

Grilled hamburger

Yield: 6 hamburgers

  • 1.5 pounds ground beef (chuck), 82 percent lean
  • 1 medium shallot, peeled and minced (3 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese, divided
  • 2 ounces arugula, rinsed and dried
  • 6 hamburger buns, lightly toasted on the grill
  • 1 recipe homemade tomato mostarda (recipe below)

1. Heat your grill to medium-high. Once hot, clean the grill. Then, using tongs, lightly dip a cloth in olive oil and wipe to coat the grill rack.

2. In a large bowl, gently mix to combine the meat with the shallot, salt, and pepper. Do not over-mix. Form into six patties, then using your thumb or the back of a tablespoon, gently press into the middle of each burger. This small indentation will ensure that the center of the burger doesn’t puff up as it cooks.

3. If you enjoy your burgers medium-rare, grill the burgers for 3 minutes on one side, with the lid closed, until nicely colored, then flip the burgers, close the lid again, and cook 3 minutes more on the second side.  Transfer to a sheet pan to rest.

4. While the burgers are resting, place the hamburger buns face down on the grill until lightly toasted. Once the buns are toasted, assemble the burgers, adding the mostarda, cheese and arugula to your heart’s desire. Now, that’s a darn good burger!

Tomato mostarda

Yield: Approximately 1.5 cups

  • 2 pounds cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon wholegrain Dijon mustard
  • 3 dried bay leaves

1. Put the tomatoes, vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, tomato paste, and mustard in a food processor and process until the tomatoes are broken down.

2. Transfer the contents to a large saucepan, add the bay leaves, bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

3. After 30 minutes, begin stirring more frequently until the mostarda thickens and very little liquid remains, approximately 15 minutes more.

4. Remove from heat and take out the bay leaves. Give it a taste. It should taste bright, sweet and vibrant, like ketchup. If it’s a little flat, add a touch more vinegar and re-taste. A touch of salt or pepper, perhaps? Re-taste.

5. Allow to cool before serving. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Want more from Chef Lyon? Click here for his tips on shopping a farmers market, try his raw kale salad with feta, pine nuts and cranberries, or whip up a batch of his spicy watermelon gazpacho

Need to make an appointment with a Piedmont physician? Save time, book online.

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