I originally created a peppercorn sauce for this burger that is not dissimilar to biting into a peppercorn steak, but we collectively decided that this milder and slightly fruity pink peppercorn sauce was probably a better meld. If, however, you want a ‘kick-in-your-mouth’ peppercorn sauce you could certainly use this sauce on your burger, as it really is quite excellent.
To go with this sweet and peppery sauce I was looking for something equally sweet, yet savory. Coke caramelized onions! Although these are excellent on hotdogs as well, here we have combined them with the easily melting and mild flavored fontina cheese, to create a balanced burger that is both tangy, sweet, and savory all in one.
Lastly, I know that leaf lettuce is the pretty standard choice for burgers, but here I have specifically chosen iceberg for it’s crunch. Do what you wish, but the crunch really makes this burger work!
Coke Caramelized Onion and Sweet Pink Peppercorn Burger with Fontina Cheese
By: Semiserious Chefs
Makes: 6 burgers
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 6 slices of fontina cheese
- 1/3 cup whole pink peppercorns
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 t apple cider vinegar
- 4 t dijon mustard
- 2 t honey
- 1/2 t sea salt
- 1/4 t ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 medium yellow onions; sliced
- 6 T Coke*
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 6 burger buns and butter to toast
- 6-12 crisp iceberg lettuce slices
*We found this to be an optimal amount of Coke, however, a sweeter tooth may decide to add more.
- To make the Sauce: Crack the pink peppercorns using either a mortar and pestle or food processor. (They may be too sticky for an herb grinder.) Whisk together the mayo, milk, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt, and black pepper. Add the cracked peppercorns and stir together with a spoon.
- Form the ground beef into 6 quarter-pound patties and cook with whatever method you prefer.
- To Caramelize the Onions: While the burgers are coking, add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a wide skillet, over medium heat. When hot, toss in the sliced onions and saute until just golden and slightly soft, but still containing some crunch. (A few minutes.) When you have cooked the onions to their desired softness, add the Coke to the onions in the hot skillet and simmer, tossing, until all of the liquid in the coke has reduced. (Another couple minutes.) Salt and pepper to taste.
- When your burgers are finished cooking (or near finished) add a slice of fontina cheese to each.
- Butter each bun half and toast them in a skillet or under the broiler.
- On each toasted bottom bun add one cooked patty with cheese, topped with a heaping scoop of the coke caramelized onions and 1 or 2 nice and crispy slices of iceberg lettuce. Heavily spread the underside of the top bun with the creamy peppercorn sauce and place on the rest of the burger.