You have to work hard to create a burger that lives up to the catchphrase "Bam!"

And Emeril Lagasse has done just that, offering AP's 20 Burgers of Summer series a seriously over-the-top 250-gram (1/2-pound) burger of prime ground chuck topped with a round of fried fresh mozzarella cheese and drizzled with chipotle, tomato and lime aioli.

"I wanted a balance of texture and flavour in achieving one of the ultimate comfort foods," Lagasse said in an email interview. "I loved the idea of combining a rich fried cheese with prime chuck and the spicy aioli."

Lagasse has been thinking a lot about burgers lately. In December he opened his Burgers And More (get it? BAM?) restaurant in Bethlehem, Pa. The menu features three high-flavour burgers, including one that sports grass-fed beef with andouille sausage, pepper jack cheese and spicy mustard.

And soon there may be a fourth. Lagasse is considering adding the Bam! burger with chipotle, tomato and lime aioli he created for The Associated Press.

Chipotle, Tomato and Lime Aioli

Start to finish: 5 minutes


  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) mayonnaise

  • 1 canned chipotle pepper with adobe sauce, seeds removed

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) tomato paste

  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) minced fresh basil

  • 10 ml (2 tsp) chopped garlic

  • 1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt

In a blender, combine all ingredients and puree until smooth. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Makes 125 ml (1/2 cup).


Fried Mozzarella Rounds

Start to finish: 30 minutes (10 minutes active)

  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour

  • 4 large eggs

  • 50 ml (1/4 cup) whole milk

  • 500 ml (2 cups) panko breadcrumbs

  • 250-g (1/2-lb) ball fresh mozzarella, cut into four 5-mm (1/4-inch) slices

  • 250 ml (1 cup) olive oil

  1. In a wide, shallow bowl, place flour. In a second wide, shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Place panko in a third wide, shallow bowl.

  2. One at a time, dredge each slice of cheese through flour, shaking off excess, then dip into egg mixture, coating thoroughly. Place slices in panko and coat evenly on both sides. Pass each slice through egg mixture a second time, then again through panko.

  3. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Arrange cheese slices on it, then place in the freezer for 20 minutes.

  4. In a medium saute pan over medium-high, heat oil. Add breaded cheese slices, in batches if necessary, and fry each for about 2 1/2 minutes on the first side, then 1 1/2 minutes on the second side. Move cheese slices to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Makes 4 slices.


Bam Burger With Chipotle, Tomato and Lime Aioli

Start to finish: 1 1/2 hours (20 minutes active)

  • 1 kg (2 lb) prime ground chuck

  • 5 ml (1 tsp) salt

  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) ground black pepper

  • 4 onion poppy rolls or large sesame-seed hamburger rolls, lightly toasted

  • 1 beefsteak tomato, cut into four 5-mm (1/4-inch) slices

  • 4 fried mozzarella rounds

  • 250 ml (1 cup) packed arugula leaves

  • 60 ml (4 tbsp) chipotle, tomato and lime aioli

  1. In a large bowl, season meat with salt and pepper. Gently form into four 250-g (8-oz) patties, being careful not to overwork meat. Cover patties and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

  2. Heat a grill to medium. Lightly oil grates.

  3. Grill patties for 8 minutes, then flip them and grill for another 7 to 8 minutes for medium-rare to medium or until burgers are cooked to desired doneness.

  4. Place a burger on the bottom of each of the 4 toasted buns, place a tomato slice on top of the burger, then a slice of fried mozzarella and 50 ml (1/4 cup) of the arugula. Dress the top bun with 15 ml (1 tbsp) of the aioli and place the bun on top.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 1,158 calories; 517 calories from fat; 57 g fat (12 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 300 mg cholesterol; 79 g carbohydrate; 83 g protein; 6 g fibre; 2,048 mg sodium.