I had a hankering for meat today, something that doesn’t happen too often. So on the way home from my morning walk, I stopped at Kenny’s Carnicería, our local meat market in La Cruz, Mexico, and bought a half kilo of ground beef. Kenny’s meat is from cattle which graze on the fields outside of town until their time is up. Their only food is grass and they are uncontaminated by antibiotics or growth hormones.
After a number of years of being a pescatarian (a person who does not eat meat except for fish — it’s a real word), I’ve arrived at a point where I only eat meat from animals that have had a reasonably natural existence. (The same can not be said for the poultry and pork for sale in the stores here, so they never appear on my plate or on this blog.)
To completely change the subject, the highlight of my life most recently has been watching the World Cup on TV. Today’s match between Italy and Paraguay, the former being last year’s World Cup champion, and the latter being a very worthy opponent, has left me hungry. Maybe it was watching all these manly men run up and down the playing field chasing the soccer ball that left me hankering for red meat. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I have managed to eat coconut ice cream for lunch or breakfast for two days running. In any case, I needed meat.
My lunch was wonderful:
Four ounces of ground beef mixed with a teaspoon of minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce, a tablespoon of minced shallot and a tablespoon of olive oil (to add moisture) and formed into a patty which was sauteed in olive oil.
Accompaniments: a simple slaw of thinly sliced red cabbage, grated carrot and pepinas (pumpkin seeds), and dressed with a squeeze of lime juice and a splash of olive oil; verdolagas (purslane) sautéed with shallots and garlic; and sliced tomato.
The ground beef from Kenny’s is so lean that oil needs to be added to the pan. This is typical of range-fed beef which lack marbling, i.e., fat. I worked a full tablespoon of olive oil into the meat before it was cooked, which resulted in a moist patty. Maybe I’m on to something here.
Another trick for cooking a moist hamburger patty — don’t press the patty with the spatula as it cooks. All this does is press out the juices. I don’t know why all the hamburger cooks of the world think this is the way to cook hamburgers.
Verdolagas, known as purslane in the English speaking world, has the distinction of having one of the highest, if not the highest, content of omega-3 fatty acids of all vegetables. The succulent leaves can be added raw to salads, or cooked in soups and stews. Purslane is considered a weed in much of the world, and might even be growing in your side-walk cracks or backyard. Verdolagas are found in almost every Mexican grocery store.