Vail Seasonal: The Larkburger is homegrown and all-American
VAIL VALLEY, Colorado -We here in Colorado’s Vail Valley watched the medals count climb, making sure the USA kept a healthy lead. We cheered the hometown favorites – Vonn, Schleper, Del Bosco. We brought Bode back and marveled at Shawn. Apolo amazed. It was impossible to avoid getting caught up in the Olympics, and it brought out our patriotic best.USA cuisine, like the Olympics, is a melting pot of cultures and flavors, but we can take credit for inventing the beloved all-American burger. Burgers are a restaurant favorite, showing up on menus from the most casual joints to the finest elegant eateries. They are a staple of the home kitchen – easy and quick, perfect barbecue fare or a simple dinner on a weeknight. Local entrepreneur Thomas Salamunovich has taken the burger to cult-like status. Salamunovich, chef-owner of Larkspur Restaurant in Vail, knew he was on to something big in the early 2000s.”We realized shortly after we opened Larkspur 10 years ago, that the sheer size of the restaurant would allow us to have two separate menus and appeal to a larger audience.” The bar menu was born, and its most popular dish became the Larkburger, and the rest is history. In 2006, Salamunovich opened a new restaurant concept in Edwards. Simply called Larkburger, the space resembles a fast food stop, but upscale and eco-friendly. The menu is … Larkburger, with just a few complements. Larkburger was an immediate sensation and took off in all-American fashion. In 2008, Salamunovich and his partner, Adam Baker, opened a second Larkburger in Boulder near the University of Colorado campus. Just last week, the third Larkburger opened in Denver, in the center of Denver Tech Center. In the Vail Valley, the Larkburger continues to be a staple at Larkspur’s Bar and Salamunovich’s Avondale in the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa.”But you can also make the Larkburger at home,” said Salamunovich, who is a nurturing soul and a perfectionist. “Not one single ingredient can be taken off the burger because it all works together. The mayonnaise mixes with the meat juices, the tomato acids and the lettuce crispness. All combine to create the classic Larkburger.”
2 large russet potatoes1/2 gallon canola oilSea saltCut potatoes in 3/16 inch sticks and soak in water for 24 hours to remove excess starch. Heat canola oil to 325 degrees in Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pan. Drain and dry potatoes and then fry them in hot oil for two to three minutes. Remove potatoes from oil and lay out on a rack in a single layer to cool completely. Heat the oil up to 375 degrees, put the fries back in the oil and cook three minutes until golden brown and crispy. Remove fries from oil, drain and toss with sea salt.
28 ounces all natural ground beefSalt and fresh ground pepper4 slices sharp cheddar cheese4 sourdough hamburger buns2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted4 leaves iceberg lettuce1 vine-ripened tomato, slicedRed onion, slicedForm four 7-ounce hamburgers that are 4 inches across. Mark sure the edges are squared and form a small indentation in the center of each side of each hamburger. This allows them to swell into a flat disk once the juices move to the center. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the burgers for seasoning. Grill and turn burgers frequently to get even carmelization. Place one slice of cheese on each burger for 30 seconds, then put burgers on a rack above a sheet pan, and keep warm for four minutes. Reserve the juices from the sheet pan for mayonnaise.
1 egg yolk3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice1 tablespoon Dijon mustard1 teaspoon kosher salt3/4 cup blended oil (80% canola, 20% EVOO)4 tablespoons EVOOBlack pepper2 teaspoons hamburger drippingsWhisk all ingredients except oils. Slowly add both oils until a smooth emulsion is formed.
Brush each side of the buns with melted butter and place them on the hot griddles. Toast until dark golden. Spread mayonnaise on both sides of the buns. On top bun, layer one leaf of lettuce, one slice of tomato sprinkled with salt and pepper, and one slice onion, then sandwich with hamburger patty on bottom bun. Surround with French fries on the plate. Serve with extra mayonnaise for dipping. Serves four. Sue Barham is the marketing director for Larkspur Restaurant and Restaurant Avondale. Larkspur, (larkspurvail.com) at the base of Vail Mountain, has been serving American Classics with a fresh interpretation since 1999. Avondale, (avondalerestaurant.com) opened in September 2008 in the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa and features a West Coast inspired, market driven menu.
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