‘Shroom Burger a la Shake Shack and Anderson Valley Imperial IPA

The Shake Shack, which is pretty much the east coast’s counterpart to In-n-Out, is known to serve a monster of a burger called the Shack Stack: it’s a beef patty topped with a deep-fried, cheese-stuffed, panko-crusted portobello mushroom patty. Since I’m trying to be “healthy,” I decided to ditch the beef and try doing the ‘shroom burger alone, with a side of french fries. Again, my baseline recipes came from Serious Eats. Their Burger Lab posted a copycat recipe for Shake Shack’s ‘Shroom Burger, as well as one for McDonald’s perfectly crisp french fries.

Here’s a quick run-down of what happened, but I pretty much just followed the Serious Eats recipe: Two four-inch in diameter portobellos were cleaned and steamed in the microwave, packed into a patty with a mix of sharp cheddar (for flavor) and American cheese (for easy melting. Muenster, or even Monterey Jack were ideal, but unavailable in three different groceries/delis). These were then double dipped in flour, egg wash and panko to prevent the cheese from bursting out while the burger was still in the oil.

The french fries were parboiled, then blanched in oil, frozen overnight and then fried the next day for optimum crispness. Again, I live by the Burger Lab recipe I linked to above. The recipes as well as the articles themselves are well worth reading.

The burger was laid on a toasted bun, with a leaf of lettuce and a slice of tomato, as well as a rip-off of Shake Shack’s Shack Sauce, but with pickled jalapenos for heat instead of dill pickles. Awesome sauce. The sauce was also a scrumptious dip for the french fries. The burger was a bit too thick to be dove into whole, and I sawed it open to expose the cross-section of cheesy lava goodness.

In all, this was a unique flavor experience that took just a bit too much effort, in my opinion. Plus, I really am not a fan of seeing all that canola oil go to waste. Next time, I’ll have my panko-crusted mushrooms and crispy fries from the professionals who can cook the things on a semi-industrial scale. While the whole ordeal was novel and fun, I guess I’m really just not meant for deep-frying.

The pairing was an Anderson Valley Imperial India Pale Ale. This was originally introduced as their 20th Anniversary release, but it was so good that they ended up producing it yearly. It’s a typically floral and citric-nosed IPA, but with more biscuity malts than your usual IPA/DIPA, a thick, almost syrupy body, with the trademark lingering hoppy bitterness. Very good indeed, and the more pronounced biscuit flavor went well with the earthy and bready panko-crusted portobello burger.

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