Chicken Caesar Burgers with Parmigiano Taters

Aired August 27, 2007

For the taters:
1 sack frozen tater tots, waffle fries or your favorite frozen tater, any brand
A couple of handfuls of grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Romano cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1 tablespoon grill seasoning (eyeball it)
For the dipping sauce:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1/2 small onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
For the burgers:
1 1/4 pounds ground chicken breast, the average weight of 1 package
3 garlic cloves, 2 finely chopped, 1 cracked from skin
4 anchovies, finely chopped (optional but recommended)
A handful of Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt and coarse black pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
A handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon zest plus juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus some for drizzling
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 heart romaine lettuce, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
4 crusty rolls, split in half

Preheat oven to 425F.

Start the taters: Combine Parmigiano, salt, rosemary, hot pepper flakes and grill seasoning in a bowl. Pour four portions of taters onto a non-stick cookie sheet. Bake until almost crisp (about halfway through the cooking time on the package), then remove and sprinkle them with a handful of the cheese, tossing them a little to make sure they're coated, and then finish baking them off. Sprinkle them with cheese and herb mixture, tossing them around a bit so the mixture sticks. As the frost starts to melt, the flavorings will set into place.

Make the dipping sauce: Heat EVOO in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add grated onion (onion can be grated right over the pot) and garlic, and cook 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, for 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.

While the sauce is working, prepare the burgers: In a bowl, combine the chicken, finely chopped garlic, anchovies, a handful of cheese, a pinch of salt and a generous amount of pepper, Worcestershire, parsley and lemon zest. Mix the meat and form 4 oval-shaped, rather than round, burger patties.

Heat a large nonstick skillet with 1 tablespoon of EVOO, a turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chicken patties and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Preheat the broiler and toast the bread on a cookie sheet or broiler pan. Once lightly golden in color, remove from oven and rub the breads with cracked garlic. Drizzle bread with the EVOO.

Combine Dijon, lemon juice and 2-3 tablespoons of EVOO with salt and pepper, and toss the greens with it.

Place the patties on the bun bottoms and top them with a pile of romaine, sliced tomatoes and bun tops. Serve the burgers with the Parmigiano taters and a bowl with the dipping sauce alongside.

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