The Krabby Patty is a thing of pop culture culinary legend - a burger, forged from a secret formula, worshipped by a sociopathically upbeat sponge. How do we go about recreating that which is not reacreate-able? A bit of science, a bit of whimsy, and a whole lot of wanton conjecture. Fill in the blanks with me this week as we build an umami burger using ingredients from mother ocean!
1 pound chuck steak
1 pound bone-in short ribs
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tsp MSG
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 ounces shredded iceberg lettuce
1 slice yellow American cheese
1 small vidalia onion, sliced thinly
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced thinly
Ketchup to taste
Mustard to taste
1 large dill pickle, sliced thinly
4 sesame seed hamburger buns
3 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 Tbsp bonito flakes
1/2 ounce dried kombu
1 dried anchovy
1/2 cup pureed sun-dried tomatoes
1 Tbsp yellow miso
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
Makes 4 third-pound burgers
True Spongebob version
Trim and cut beef into 1-inch pieces, and spread evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes, along with the blade of a food processor, until beef is firm. Pulse in the food processor until beef is ground and pebbly. Shape into 4 patties, and season with salt, pepper, and MSG.
Heat vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until barely smoking. Add patties and reduce heat to medium - cook to desired doneness.
On the burger buns, assemble the burgers in this order: patty, lettuce, cheese, onion, tomato, ketchup, mustard, pickles, top bun.
Oven-dry tomatoes at 200°F for about 90 minutes on a nonstick baking sheet. In a spice grinder, grind mushrooms, bonito, kombu, and anchovy to a fine powder and set aside. Combine sun-dried tomato with equal parts ketchup, and 1 tablespoon miso with 1/4 cup mustard. Arrange parmesan in 4 flat piles on a nonstick surface (like a Silpat), and bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp. Slow-cook sliced onions with a bit of olive oil for 30 minutes or until thoroughly caramelized.
Cook burgers as described above, and once removed from heat, place on a plate and sprinkle with a light dusting of the mushroom powder mix. Toast the buns in the remaining burger fat. Let patties rest for 2 minutes before assembling the burgers in the following order: onions, tomato, ketchup, mayo, cheese crisp, lettuce.