Arthur Avenue Burger

In a city full of Italian restaurants and specialty shops, Arthur Avenue in the Bronx is where you'll find New York City's most authentic[ Southern Italian fare. With its generations-old mom-and-pop businesses, this area of town seems as though it is stuck in a time warp-and I mean that in the most positive way possible. Arthur Avenue is the place to go when you want the real deal, from great eggplant Parmesan to baked ziti to mouth-watering Italian sandwiches. This burger, with its crispy frico made from nutty Fontina cheese, and a garlic- and chile-infused ketchup, is my ode to that famous neighborhood.]

Total Time:
35 min
15 min
20 min

4 servings

  • Fra Diavolo Ketchup:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fontina Fricos:
  • 1 cup grated fontina cheese, parmesan, asiago, or a combination of any or all
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • Burgers:
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck (80 percent lean) or ground turkey (90 percent lean)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 ciabatta rolls or sesame seed hamburger buns, split; toasted, if desired (see below)
  • 1 handful of baby arugula leaves
Watch how to make this recipe.
  • To make the ketchup, heat the oil in a small nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and chile flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add the ketchup and oregano and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar and basil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving.

  • To make the fricos, combine the cheese and flour in a bowl. Heat an 8-inch nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of the cheese mixture and cook until light brown on the bottom. Turn over with a heat-proof silicone spatula and continue cooking for another 10 to 15 seconds. Remove to a plate to cool. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and repeat to make 3 more fricos.

  • Divide the meat into 4 equal portions (about 6 ounces each). Form each portion loosely into a 3/4-inch-thick burger and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb. Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper. Cook the burgers, using the oil. See how Bobby cooks perfect burgers

  • Place the burgers on the bun bottoms. Add some of the arugula to each burger, top with the fricos, and then add a dollop of the ketchup. Top with the bun tops and serve immediately.

  • Toasted Burger Buns

  • I think the taste and the texture of buns are best when lightly toasted. To toast a bun on a grill, grill pan, or griddle, split the bun open, place it cut side down on the grill, and grill until light golden brown, about 10 seconds. Alternatively, you can place the split bun halves cut side up on a baking sheet and cook them under a preheated broiler until light golden brown, about 30 seconds. Keep a close eye on them and don't let them get too brown or else that texture will take on a life of its own and defeat the purpose of starting with a soft bun.

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    Burgers and Hot Dogs