Caramelized onions and mushrooms used to be the gourmet options available but even those are ordinary by today’s standards and expectations. Restaurant operators are getting creative with toppings, from jams to pickles.
• Avocado, whether on its own or in guacamole form, is a popular choice. It offers some healthy fat too, so that’s a bonus for those who are looking for lighter options.
•House-made jams and marmalades, whether sweet using fruit or savory using bacon.
• Sunny-side eggs not only add an extra layer of flavor but also a sauce with the luxurious yolk.
• In line with the high interest in local foodstuffs and artisanal and handcrafted products, pickles and pickled relishes continue to be on trend, especially with restaurants that have their own in-house pickling programs. Maines has everything from kosher spears and sandwich slabs to fresh Kirby cucumbers. Or, go beyond cucumbers with ingredients such as parsnips, cauliflower and even grapes.
• To beef up a burger, bacon and mushrooms have been standbys but it’s time to step it up to reflect today’s tastes. Bacon has gotten an upgrade with specialty, artisan versions. Same goes for mushrooms. Instead of sliced button mushrooms, foraged varieties are finding their way to burgers. Chanterelles are the most common, while morels will give an elegant, refined touch to a burger. Either way, mushrooms will add another punch of umami and meatiness.
Maines Produce Express has everything you need from pre-sliced tomatoes and onions, to hydroponic Boston lettuce and ready-to-use washed and trimmed red and green leaf fillets. Top your burgers off with heirloom or yellow tomatoes if you want a real splash of color! Markon, our produce cooperative in California, offers a Better Burger Leaf ™ that is developed and custom grown just for burgers and Maines’ customers have access to it now. Or, top with microgreens for added color and texture.
A cheeseburger is as American as apple pie, but today’s better burger goes beyond the traditional sliced cheese. While American is tops, Cheddar, Swiss and gouda are popular picks too, according to Schweid & Sons, a family-owned and operated fourth-generation ground beef purveyor, in its 2015 Burger Trends Report. Growing interest in artisan cheeses has also made blue cheese burgers popular as well as local cheese options.
Get creative in applications of cheese. Incorporate on trend craft beer by infusing it in cheese and make a sauce, or build the burger around it by stuffing it into the patty.
A classic variation of the burger is the melt, which appeals to customers’ love of cheese and takes it a step further by enveloping patties in melted cheese. This old-school diner favorite has also received a makeover; swap the American cheese for a more sophisticated choice like Gruyère and the white sandwich bread for a sturdy artisanal choice for a new comfort food classic.