I owe this recipe to a drained mouse battery. I was working yesterday, my mouse went dead, I needed to recharge the battery and, while waiting, there was nothing much to do. I watched TV with Speedy, he switched to the Food Network, and there was this show, Burger Land, that I had never seen before. The host was in Miami eating a Cuban-style burger smothered with a spicy sauce and topped with crisp shoestring potatoes. No mayo, no lettuce, no tomatoes, no onions, no cheese, no ketchup. And it looked fabulous.
It’s a pretty basic dish and you only need three things — buns, burgers, sauce and shoestring potatoes. If you have a tried-and-tested burger recipe, use it. I used half pork-half beef, chopped onion, minced garlic, salt and pepper. The sauce is basically just barbecue sauce. Again, if you have a barbecue sauce recipe that you are particularly fond of, by all means, go with it. The only recommendation I can add is that you make it a bit spicy.
Now, the shoestring potatoes… they’re easy to make. Really.
Slice the potatoes thinly, less than a quarter inch, then cut into matchsticks. I recommend slicing the potatoes with a mandoline then using a knife to cut into matchsticks.
Heat the cooking oil to smoking point. Fry the potatoes until crisp and golden. It’s the same as cooking fries, actually, the cooking time is just shorter (see guide for cooking fries).
Easy, right? Okay, let’s make frita Cubana.
For the burgers:
For the shoestring potatoes:
- 2 medium medium-sized potatoes
- 2 to 3 cups cooking oil for frying
For the spicy sauce:
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 3 tablespoons Sriracha
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Mix together all the ingredients for the burgers. Form the mixture into four patties. Chill while you prepare the shoestring potatoes.
- Julienne the potatoes. Dump into a bowl of salted water.
- Grill or broil the burgers, three to four minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest.
- Heat the cooking oil to smoking point in a frying pan.
- Drain the julienned potatoes and spread on a kitchen towel to remove excess water.
- Fry the julienned potatoes in hot oil until browned and crisp. Scoop out the crisp potatoes and drain on a stack of paper towels (or dump in a strainer). Sprinkle with a little salt and toss.
- Assemble the sandwiches. You may lightly toast the buns, if you prefer.
- Place a burger on the bottom half of a bun. Pour sauce over the burger. Top with the crisp shoestring potatoes.
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