Recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay

Spanish Burger with Pickled Shallots

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 30 min
  • Active: 1 hr 5 min
  • Yield: 4 Spanish burgers
Bobby’s secret cheeseburger ingredient: water! He tops the patties with cheese at the end of cooking, then he adds a little water to the pan and covers it immediately — this creates and traps steam, which melts the cheese.


For the Spiced Butter:

For the Pickled Saffron Shallots:

For the Aioli:

For the Crispy Prosciutto:

For the Burgers:


  1. Make the spiced butter: Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan. Add the harissa and garlic and cook 1 minute. Remove from the heat, cover and let sit 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld.
  2. Make the pickled saffron shallots: Bring the vinegar, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and the saffron to a boil in a small saucepan set over medium heat; remove from the heat and let cool 10 minutes. Put the shallots in a small bowl, pour the vinegar mixture over them, cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  3. Make the aïoli: Combine the mayonnaise, harissa, smoked paprika, piquillo peppers, anchovy and lemon juice in a blender and blend until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  4. Make the crispy prosciutto: Heat the canola oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat until it shimmers. Add 1 slice of the prosciutto at a time to the pan and cook until just crisp. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
  5. Make the burgers: Put the ground beef in a large bowl and mix in some salt and pepper. Divide into 4 equal patties.
  6. Heat a cast-iron pan over high heat until smoking. Add the canola oil and burgers and cook until the bottoms are golden brown and a crust has formed, about 4 minutes. Flip over and begin brushing with the spiced butter. Cook until the bottoms are golden brown and the meat is cooked to medium, about 4 more minutes. Top the burgers with the fontina, add a little water to the pan, cover quickly and cook until the cheese is completely melted, about 1 minute.
  7. Spread some aïoli on the top and bottom buns. Place a burger on each bottom bun; top with pickled shallots, followed by a slice of crispy prosciutto and arugula. Add the top buns and serve.

Cook’s Note

Resist the urge to flatten the burgers as they cook. You’ll end up with a dense, dry hockey puck. Be sure to flip the patties only once — and don’t touch them until a crust has formed on the bottom. You’ll also want to cook beef burgers until medium rare to medium (about 145˚ F); this will take 7 to 8 minutes total.