Gotham City nosh: Foods fit for Batman
Everest Burger's executive chef Margarita Challenger plates a Batman burger and dark cabbage coleslaw. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Deep Purple Batman Coleslaw
By Chef Margarita Challenger
1 small head of red cabbage, finely shredded 1 yellow zucchini (skin only), finely shredded ½ cup canola oil mayonnaise ½ cup plain yogurt 2 tablespoons white vinegar 1/3 of cup honey Salt and pepper, to taste
1 yellow zucchini (skin only), finely shredded
½ cup canola oil mayonnaise
½ cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/3 of cup honey
Salt and pepper, to taste
Updated: July 20, 2012 3:21PM
Holy beef patty, Batman!
Do they eat burgers in Gotham City?
Margarita Challenger thinks so. In anticipation of the newest Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” Challenger has created a Batman Burger that will be on the menu at her restaurant in Glencoe, Everest Burger, starting July 20 when the film is released.
“It’s a burger that Batman would eat,” Challenger said.
This grilled grass-fed beef patty on a Batman bun — an organic hamburger bun made at Everest Burger — is topped with a thin slice of mild cheddar cheese from Wisconsin.
But this isn’t just any Wisconsin cheese slice. This cheese is cut into the shape of the famous Batman logo. Challenger traced the logo onto a sturdy piece of paper, cut out the image and used the stencil as a guide to cut the cheese with a knife. “The first one came out so well, I was really excited about it,” she said. “It was a lot of fun.”
Challenger bakes the cheese into the bread, but the same effect can be achieved easily at home by melting a Batman cheese slice onto a bun in a hot oven. The same technique can be used to make Batman cheeseburgers. Place cheese slices cut into the shape of the Batman logo on top of hamburger patties during the last few minutes on the grill.
Challenger felt like she was on a caped crusade of her own trying to make the bread look dark. “I really wanted to make a black bun,” Challenger said.
She experimented by making buns with Kalamata olives (classic black olives from the Kalmata region of Greece), but decided they didn’t make the bread dark enough. She even tried blackberry juice, but the bread dough was still too light to do justice to the dark knight. Even purple cabbage juice didn’t work.
So she cast a fitting shadow on the burger with a spread as grim as the mood Batman evokes, and packed with flavor that comes from Kalamata olives. “The olive spread ended up doing a good job of giving the burger a little element of darkness,” she said.
Challenger’s Batman burger will be served with a choice of sides that complement the brooding burger: purple-colored potatoes or french fries made from purple-colored potatoes.
And for even more gloom, Challenger uses a deep purple cabbage in the coleslaw that accompanies her burger. She tops the slaw off with a few slices of yellow zucchini skins arranged in the shape of the iconic Batman lightning bolt.
“That ties it all up,” she said.
And there are other foods you could expect to find in Gotham. Tip a top hat to The Penguin with cream cheese-stuffed black olives made to look like penguins. The penguin olives can accent a cocktail, a cheese tray, or make fun snack.
Slice a jumbo black olive vertically and pack the inside with cream cheese. To make penguin feet, cut a tiny pie shape out of a round carrot slice. To make a penguin nose, stick the pie shape from the carrot slice into the hole of a small black olive. Happy feet first, push the carrot slice through a three-inch wooden skewer, followed by the stuffed jumbo olive and then the small olive head. Leave one inch of the skewer exposed at the head of the penguin.
Place a round block of the Mexican queso fresco in the center of a cheese plate to create the look of a snow hill. Poke three penguins into the cheese and crowd the rest nearby, the way penguins congregate in the wild. The tray can be covered with herbs and edible flowers to create a winter garden look. For a chillier effect, sprinkle miniature, ice blue-colored flowers from a borage plant around the tray.
“It’s fun to think outside the box, to come up with something different just to see the looks on people’s faces,” Challenger said.