The Original 5 Napkin Burger is one of the best burgers in town. Period.
You don’t agree with me? Then bring it on...there’s nothing I like more than discussing what’s the best burger in town.
With my friend Kelly we can argue for hours about it. We are opinionated people, and this is especially true on the subject of burgers.
We have researched long and hard to find the best burger in town.
Some we love, some we like and some we don’t care at all.
Burger Joint at Le Meridien, Corner Bistro, Dram Shop, Black Iron, Burger & Barrel, Bill’s Burger, Shake Shack, are some of our fave.
But year after year, the 5 Napkin Burger still holds a place in our hearts (and stomachs!)
I first discovered the 5 Napkin Burger almost 6 years when I was still living in Hell’s Kitchen.
On a lazy September Sunday night, I was walking down 9th Avenue when I first noticed the 5 Napkin restaurant. I walked in, got a place at the counter and ordered the signature burger without having a clue about it.
It was love at first sight — more like at first bite. From that moment on, the 5 Napkin Burger has been in in my life.
10 oz fresh ground chuck, Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions and rosemary aioli on a soft white roll.
The burger is near perfect. The meat is ground fresh, the doneness is always exactly done to my liking, and the rosemary aioli and onions complement the beef without overpowering it.
I love the Original 5 Napkin so much today I’ve decided to create a meatball version of it.
Basically all of the flavors of the burger, minus the bun, and bite-sized.
Sooo, caramelized onions…
...and Gruyere cheese mixed with the ground meat. A couple of other ingredients and BAM! Meatballs.
Cook and BOOM! Dunk the meatballs in the aioli.
Now that’s a sight for sore eyes!
Print this recipe!
Inspired by 5 Napkin Burger
Makes about 20 meatballs
1 lb / 453 gr grass-fed organic ground chuck
4 medium onions, chopped (should yield about ½ cup caramelized onions)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large egg
¼ cup / 0.9 oz / 25 gr almond meal (or gluten-free breadcrumbs such as Gillian’s)
¼ cup / 1 oz / 28 gr grated Gruyere cheese (if you can’t find Gruyere you can use Emmentaler)
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt, divided
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup / 5.6 oz / 160 gr mayonnaise (make your own paleo mayo with this recipe)
2 cloves garlic
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
To make caramelized onions, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add onion and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring every now and then, until onions are soft and golden brown, about 40 minutes.
In a bowl combine Gruyere, egg, caramelized onions, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
Add beef and almond meal (or GF breadcrumbs) and mix gently.
With dampened hands form into 20 balls.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large (preferably non-stick) skillet, over medium heat.
Add meatballs, and cook, turning gently, until browned on all sides and cooked through, about 18 to 20 minutes.
Coarsely chop garlic, and gather into a pile; sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Place flat side of knife blade on top of garlic, with sharp side of blade away from you; press down firmly while pulling knife toward you to create a paste.
Holding rosemary sprigs at their top, slide your fingers down it, to the bottom, to strip off the needles and finely chop them.
Whisk mayo, garlic, rosemary and lemon in small bowl to blend.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. (The rosemary aioli can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic and refrigerate.)
One meatball without aioli yields 83 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1 gram of carbs and 5 grams of protein.
One meatball served with one teaspoon of rosemary aioli yields 108 calories, 8 grams of fat, 2 grams of carbs and 5 grams of protein.