I have not ever eaten Osteria Francescana. I can’t tell you any battalion about how excellent Massimo Bottura’s cuisine is, deserving of second place in the 50 Best lists and three Michelin stars. What I can confirm is that the most famous Italian chef in the world is a man capable of doing miracles. And the demonstration is his new book, Bread is gold.
That a first level chef proposes simple and feasible recipes in a domestic kitchen is already an unusual occurrence. That they do, more than 50 can be compared to the resurrection of Lazarus or the Marian apparitions in Lourdes and Fatima. But this is more or less what happens in the work of Bottura in which colleagues from the hair of Ferran and Albert Adrià, Joan Roca, René Redzepi, Juan Mari Arzak, Alain Ducasse or Gastón Acurio collaborate. All contribute fantastic recipes without too many complications, something that very busy people who do not have time for anything – translated: the lazy – we applaud even with the ears.
Like all miracles, Bottura’s has its rational explanation. During the 2015 Milan Expo, the chef invited colleagues from all over the world to cook in his Ambrosiano Refettorio, an old theatre on the periphery transformed into a social dining room for people in need. The number of diners and the food used, given by supermarkets that were going to discard them, imposed dishes without too many flourishes, but in which the chefs put their particular stamp. With the subtitle Extraordinary recipes with ordinary ingredients, Bread is gold brings together all these formulas with the same objective: the fight against the absurd waste of food in our days and the claim of use in the kitchen.
Today’s hamburger is precisely what gave the idea of the book to Massimo Bottura. Its author is the Japanese chef Yoshihiro Narisawa, champion of sustainability in the Tokyo restaurant that bears his last name. According to Bottura, the guests of the Refettorio asked how the teriyaki sauce was made with such insistence that he thought it would be interesting to collect the recipes for posterity. After trying it, I confirm that I would have also given the barra for the same purpose because it is not only delicious, but it far exceeds the average of the packaged industrial teriyakis that I have tried in many places.
The recipe doesn’t have a lot of puzzles, and like so many others in the book, it is not at all canonical. The hamburger closely resembles our favourite and old Russian steak. The sauce pulls materials available in any super European Vulgaris, which will be bad news for purists of the rising sun and suitable for those who do not have Asian products store nearby. Nor do we do drama: teriyaki sauce as such is an invention almost more American than Japanese.
I have adapted the dish a little to my taste, reducing the amount of sugar, sautéing the onion and modifying some procedure to stainless pots. I have also changed the lard for avocado, not for a dietary fool, but so that it would not be so heavy. What I do not advise you is that you remove the egg or reduce the number of breadcrumbs: I already tried it in my first test, and the disaster in the pan was remarkable.
For dust elves.
For six people
300 g of minced beef
100 g ripe avocado
One chopped onion
100 g of breadcrumbs
100 ml of milk
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
One large red pepper or two medium sliced peppers
200 g of mushrooms cut in quarters
300 ml white wine
150 ml of soy sauce
60 g of sugar
2 level scoops of cornstarch