Burger King's New Pizza Burger
The take-out box for Burger King’s latest edible disaster coyly states, “Pizza, meet burger. New York, meet the Whopper Bar.” The New York Pizza Burger fuses two fast food staples into one shareable meal. For those who are sick of straining their jaws while biting into an ordinary hamburger, the Pizza Burger serves a unique purpose: a burger’s flavor in a pizza’s format. New York pizza is generally thin-crusted and easy to eat, but utility alone isn’t enough to justify bad taste.
When I went to the Times Square Whopper Bar, I sat in awe of the 9.5 inch Pizza Burger in front of me. Hamburger meat, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese and Tuscan basil-pesto mayo were piled inside a poppy sesame seed bun. It looked and tasted something like toy food, with the distinct flavor of cardboard abounding. Burger King serving low quality food is old news; I don’t care to disparage their attempt at something different. I do, however, cringe at the 2500 calorie count that the meal boasts. That’s a whole day’s worth of calories in exchange for a foul tasting burger.
If you’re in the mood to gorge on junk, calories are meaningless. Flavor, on the other hand, should never be compromised. That’s why I coined my own version of the New York Pizza Burger--one that tickles the same taste buds that Burger King’s meal does, but without giving you endless heartburn and diabetes.
The Real New York Pizza Burger
Makes 2 Burgers
1 large tomato, finely chopped
2 shallots, diced
Chopped tarragon, parsley, thyme (fresh or dried)
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
Fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
Grated Romano cheese
1 package of ground, organic turkey
4 Whole wheat pita bread slices
Extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons of light mayonnaise
In a small mixing bowl, combine mayo, tarragon and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside for later.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and stir until the oil is infused. Add tomatoes and shallots, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir for 1 minute, making sure the oil doesn’t burn. Lower the heat and sauté until shallots are soft and translucent.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, neatly align four slices of whole wheat pita bread. Brush each piece with olive oil, then sprinkle with oregano, sesame seeds, salt and pepper. Heat in the oven for ten minutes, or until the edges are crispy but not burned.
Meanwhile, smash up the turkey meat with a fork; then stir in the diced garlic. Sprinkle with parsley, thyme and plenty of salt and pepper. Mash herbs and spices into the meat with your hands, and then evenly divide meat into two flat discs (make sure it’s in proportion to the pita bread slice). Cook the burgers in a greased sauté pan until golden brown, about 7 minutes on each side. Poke the surface of the meat to test whether or not it’s done, making sure there are no pink spots left. During its last few minutes on the pan, add slices of mozzarella and grated Romano, letting it melt on the surface.
Once the pita is toasted, spread on a dollop of herb mayo, followed by the turkey patty. Pile on the tomato and shallot sauce, top it with a second piece of pita, and cut it in half. Serve immediately.
ALL PHOTOS BY YUMNA AL-ARASHI