When the season is right (any time of year) and the grilling urge strikes, try my selection of gourmet burgers. Some might be a first for some REM readers. It’s easy for agents to multitask since much can be prepared ahead of time.

Prepare your favourite generous burger, but the difference is how you serve it. Your favourite could be ground lamb, pork, veal, chicken, goat or even venison.

Don’t overcook the burger. It will continue to cook in its own heat. Choose your favourite bun; maybe try a brioche.

Drizzle the bread with just a little ghee (clarified butter) and grill quickly – only a minute, you don’t want the bun to be crunchy.

Place a couple of softened marinated Celebrity brand wonderful creamy Canadian goat cheese pucks from your marinating jar, on each top and bottom grilled bun.

Add a dollop of WildlyDelicious Beet and Red Onion Marmalade or my tomato butter on each half on top of the cheese. Or if you want something really different, use my kumquat marmalade.

Top the marmalade with a teaspoon of Petite Maison White Truffle Dijon. Spritz with Black Maple Magic Balsamic Vinegar, add a generous amount of fresh watercress, and position your burger between the two bun pieces.

Make plenty. There won’t be leftovers.

You could add crumbled crispy bacon just before you serve. (Not store-bought bacon bits.)

A good pairing: Stella Belgian beer, or Molson Export Ale. Both act as a purposeful palate cleanser between delicious bites. Overseas, people prefer to drink their beer at room temperature, but this side of the ocean it’s preferred cold. Never put ice in beer, but it is said real beer drinkers add a pinch of salt to the empty cold glass before pouring.

Norwegian Steelhead Burger 

Grill both halves of a brioche bun. Spritz with extra light virgin olive oil. Smear each side with my warm blue cheese dressing. Place a beautiful large hydroponic Boston Bibb lettuce leaf on each half. Add a tablespoon of my shredded green apple (unpeeled) fennel slaw to each half. Then add a generous mound of paper-thin Norwegian frozen/thawed steelhead smoked salmon napkins. (This product sounds expensive and it is, but it feeds dozens of people, dozens of times. It thaws very quickly so it is handy always to have on hand, so you can gourmet many things in just minutes. Well-wrapped, double-wrapped in plastic wrap, it keeps for ages in the freezer. I cut the very long package in half to position easier in the freezer, and only take out half at a time to work with.)

On top of the Norwegian salmon mound, add a few very thin slices of Norwegian light Jarlsberg cheese. This wonderful cheese is almost sweet. It has holes in it like we typically see in Swiss Cheese. This cheese is nothing short of excellent. Ask the deli to slice it very thin, if not already prepared that way. Next, slice paper-thin raw red onion and add a generous amount to finish this wonderful treat. The smoked salmon loves red onion.

This is likely a burger like you’ve never had before. There’s a good chance you will make it often.

Serve with a cheese board of mixed cheeses you might not normally indulge in, giving guests an opportunity to try something unusual like Celebrity brand Sartori raspberry delicious shards, and perhaps their Espresso cheese.

Pairs wonderfully with unoaked shiraz or with my old standby, Winzertanz.

A fish burger? Maybe a fishwich 

It’s another fishy thing! Build a burger using a mound of freshly made breaded fish nuggets topped with my amazing Caesar salad dressing. Yes. You read it right. (Now, if you really want a spectacular “seawich”, go completely overboard and use once over-lightly, butter-seared scallops – not the tiny bay scallops, for a spectacular treat.)

Position a juicy split brandy marinated black mission fig on top of the dressing. And add shredded romaine lettuce and sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan. Amazing! Want to get a little over the top? Use pre-cooked lobster claw meat as an alternate to the nuggets… Or my lobster tails.

A side dish of my special Waldorf Salad rounds out the meal.

Super crabby burger

Grill both halves of buttered brioche. Prepare crab meat, leaving large chunks visible, adding finely chopped celery, a tiny pinch of minced onion, salt, pepper, sweet paprika and a little white truffle Dijon, stirred into mashed cream cheese. Fold in a tablespoon of full fat sour cream.

Mound the crab meat mixture on loads of crispy ordinary iceberg lettuce leaves (or shredded) on the grilled, buttered, brioche bun.

If you enjoy heat, drizzle a little of your favourite hot sauce onto the crab mix. Sprinkle with sweet paprika and/or cayenne. Drizzle with my warm blue cheese dressing, to which you have added a pinch of mashed homemade roasted garlic. If you enjoy horseradish, a tiny bit of homemade horseradish cream is a nice completer, or add a dollop of my Hazelnut Pesto

for a different experience. Crispy arugula added at the last minute makes this a delightful burger.

My remoulade sauce for shrimp po’boy burger 

In a blender, start with three whole eggs. Add two coarsely chopped white garlic cloves, a tablespoon of white truffle Dijon, zest of a half lemon and fresh squeezed half lemon juice.

Add a teaspoon of freshly grated raw horseradish. Add a generous raw shallot, split in four, and a half teaspoon of raw onion. Two large fresh basil leaves zip up the flavours.

Add a teaspoon of sweet paprika and a sprinkle of cayenne, salt, “garlic scape sea salt” and a teaspoon of ground chili powder. Add very high-quality fresh ground pepper and a half teaspoon of Sambul (the East Indian islands spice) and whir the blender to combine.

From your pantry citrus jar, chop a quarter cup of mixed candied citrus rind. Add to blender ingredients. Cover and pulse to mince. Add a quarter cup of the best-quality thick maple syrup.  Drizzle in Mazola Corn Oil just gradually while machine is running, until the consistency is that of thick mayonnaise,

Serve as a dipping sauce for butterflied batter-fried shrimp that you have filled a grilled split ghee-spritzed baguette with.

You can drizzle my remoulade onto the po’’oy burger, but only just when you are ready to eat, so you don’t make the breaded shrimp soggy.

No words to say how good this hot sauce is. You could use it with any of the burgers if you like a memorable hot Cajun mouth-watering experience. (Not for serving to children.)

© “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks” Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience

The working title for Carolyne’s Gourmet Recipes cookbook is From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks. This kitchen-friendly doyenne has been honoured and referred to as the grande dame of executive real estate in her market area during her 35-year career. She taught gourmet cooking in the mid-70s and wrote a weekly newspaper cooking column, long before gourmet was popular as it is today. The cookbook will be available in the coming year. Email Carolyne.


  1. Agents who work using any real estate designation still have to eat, and whether preparing food for a celebration or for everyday family meals, or even cooking for one, with just a little effort we can all eat healthy fresh food ~ and the secret is that we know what’s in what we are eating. And that’s always a good thing.

    Sizzling Shallot Beer Topper

    Sauté 2 cups of lengthwise cut thin strips of shallots in sizzling unsalted butter. Do not brown. Keep a little crunch you might call al dente.

    Sprinkle with salt, fresh ground pepper, minced fresh basil, parsley, thyme, and rosemary. Add a pinch of dry mustard and a tiny spritz of fresh squeezed lemon juice and a pinch of mixed, minced, citrus rind from your pantry candied citrus sugar jar.

    Stir in a cup of granulated sugar from your mixed candied citrus sugar jar, stirring as the sugar releases. Keep heat medium high but be careful not to burn the sugar.

    Introduce about two cups of your favourite beer or ale (room temperature). Molsen Ex has just enough bite to offset the sugar. But a dark beer will work.

    Let bubble and reduce until the mixture has a jam like consistency.

    What a perfect topping for your favourite burger.

    You might like to dot with a tiny dollop of sour cream or whipped Canadian goat cream cheese complimented with chopped fresh chives.

    This topper jam will keep well in a sterilized covered glass jar for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

    For a different set of flavours, sauté the shallot strips in sizzling bacon fat, add a little chopped crunchy bacon and then add the sugar and beer. Continue as above. This is terrific on the seafood burgers.

    Over the top: Sizzle the shallot strips in duck fat. Add a tablespoon of homemade rhubarb confit. Follow the rest of the recipe and use to top your duck filled portobello mushroom.

    Or just serve the toppers on buttered toasts (crustless quarters) as a tapas. Or, a terrific addition to shrimp or duck breast crostini.

    Or try any of these as an amazing topper on a seared sea scallop filled crepe or omelette. Drizzle with a cheese béchamel sauce spritzed with homemade lobster oil and a squeeze of lemon.

    And for an unforgettable dessert experience stir either of the first two toppers into homemade vanilla ice cream before freezing. Drizzle with your favourite homemade caramel sauce and sprinkle with crushed candied nuts from your pantry jar. Oh, my!

    © “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks”
    Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience

Leave a Reply