Fig and Blue Cheese Burgers

20190717_200204I got a new book! For my birthday, my sister got me The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, of Serious Eats fame. The point of the book is to teach you about the science behind why certain techniques work in the kitchen, and generally to provide a foundation of 20190714_183044understanding that can allow the home cook to experiment confidently. Aka, exactly up my alley. For my first recipe from the book, I wanted to try my hand at making French fries, as the variability of fry quality I’ve experienced and the rumors of the double fry method have always intimidated me. So of course, I needed to pair them with a great burger…

The details:

Jump to recipe

Thought process:

I am not a huge (both in emotion and quantity) meat person, so if I’m going to eat a burger it’s the toppings that I’m really focused on. My dad introduced me to blue cheese on burgers a while ago, and now it’s my preferred topping if I have a choice. Even just a simple blue cheese with no other toppings, not even condiments, is so much more than your average American or cheddar slice. The salty funk of the blue cheese can stand up to the meatiness of the burger. It melts into a creamy sauce that cuts the dryness of the bun, without melting away into nothing like some sliced cheeses.

With the blue cheese as the star, I knew the other flavors needed to support and BALANCE that contribution. Fig and blue cheese are a classic cheese plate combination, and I knew that incorporating the fig as a preserve would provide a saucy stickiness to hold the burger together, and a needed sweet note to balance the umami of the rest of the sandwich. Adding another sweet in the form of caramelized onion as well as some light herb from the thyme brought the whole symphony together. And I think a burger doesn’t look right without a bright green leaf of lettuce, so I topped the whole thing off with a nice mild butter lettuce.

Below, the recipe:

Fig and Blue Cheese Burgers
makes 3 | print

  • 1.3 pounds 93% ground beef
  • 3 brioche hamburger buns
  • ¼ pound blue cheese
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 6 3 tsp fig preserves
  • Butter lettuce
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium high heat and cook the onions for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium low and cook for another 10 minutes until soft and caramelized.
  3. Add the thyme, honey, and salt and cook for another 2 minutes.
  4. Preheat the broiler.
  5. On a cookie sheet, form the ground beef into 3 patties slightly larger than the buns without squishing the meat – just press enough to hold together
  6. Season the outside of the patties with salt and pepper.
  7. Broil the burgers for ~2 min until just browned, then flip and broil until an instant read thermometer registers 140ºF for medium well.
  8. Crumble the cheese on top of the burgers and place back under the broiler for 30 seconds to melt.
  9. Spread 1/3 of the fig preserves on the bottom bun, add the burger, 1/3 of the onions, and a leaf of lettuce (and the top bun).


4/5 stars. 4 stars

The toppings for these burgers were great. I will say to use the preserves sparingly – I used only 2 tsp of preserves per burger, but that was still too sweet and threw off the balance. I gave this only 4 stars because I still struggle with making burgers and these were more cooked than I would like.

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