WCL: Spruce up your burger with Chef Amanda Downing

We had the executive chef and operating partner of Rockit Burger Bar, Amanda Downing, in the kitchen to show us how to take burgers beyond plain old ketchup and mustard.

For more details on Rockit Burger Bar, be sure to check out their website: www.rockitburgerbar.com/

To vote for Rockit Burger Bar in Time Out's Best Burger competition, click: timeoutchicago.com/special-advertising-feature/crowning-chi-towns-best-burger/15480371/a-sponsored-promotion-from-amste

You can also try out Rockit Burger Bar's Truffle Mushroom Burger first hand this weekend at the Roscoe Village Burger Fest: www.rvcc.biz/burgerfest.php

To try out Amanda's burger toppings in your own kitchens, check out the recipes below:

Rockit Burger Bar

Truffle Mushroom Burger:

- 2 pounds freshly ground black angus beef
- 4 soft white hamburger buns
- 4 tablespoons truffle crème fraiche (see recipe below)
- 6 each cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 4 each shitake mushroom tops, sliced
- 4 thin slices gruyere cheese
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper

Divide ground beef into four 8oz portions, form into patties about 3" in diameter and ½" thick. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Heat grill to medium-high heat.

Heat a medium sauté pan, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, add both kinds of mushrooms and a pinch of both salt and pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat and hold warm. When grill is hot, drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over the burgers. Place on grill. Grill 3-4 minutes on each side for medium temperature. Top each burger with a slice of cheese.

Cut buns in half, lightly toast for a few seconds each cut half on the grill. Place buns on plates, spread about 1 tablespoon of truffle crème fraiche on each bottom bun, place burgers onto each bottom bun and top with warm mushrooms.

Truffle Crème Fraiche:

- 1 cup crème fraiche
- 1 ounce white truffle oil
- 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
- ½ teaspoon chopped thyme
- 1 teaspoon chopped chives
- Salt
- Fresh ground black pepper

In small kitchen aide mixer, whip crème fraiche, slowly add in truffle oil. Whip until soft peaks. Mix in parsley, thyme, chives, salt and black pepper to taste

Ghost Chile Pepper Aioli:

- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 4 ounces canned, roasted red bell peppers, drained
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
- 2 each dried ghost chiles*
- Hot water
- Salt
-Fresh ground black pepper

Wearing gloves, carefully remove stems from ghost chiles, place in small bowl or dish and cover with just enough hot water to cover chiles. Allow chiles to soak in water for at least 20 minutes. Drain.

In food processor, puree roasted peppers until finely chopped. Add in garlic, pulse til blended. Add in ghost chile peppers, cover and puree until all smooth and blended. Whisk chile pepper puree into mayonnaise, whisk in sriracha sauce, season lightly with salt and black pepper.

Kalamata Olive Aioli:

- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 cup kalamata olives, pitted
- Fresh ground black pepper

In food processor, pulse olives until finely chopped, add in garlic and pulse until blended. Whisk olives and garlic into mayonnaise, fold in chopped parsley. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Jalapeno Aioli:

- 2 cups mayo
- 2 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
- ¼ cup pickled canned jalapenos
- 2 tablespoons jalapeno tobacco sauce
-Fresh ground black pepper

Finely chop jalapenos. Whisk jalapenos and cilantro into mayo. Whisk in green tobacco. Season lightly with salt and pepper.