Umami is the fifth taste. We all know sweet, sour, salty, and bitter but umami is what adds depth and savor. Mushrooms and soy sauce are loaded with umami, but one sure way to add umami to your dishes is with fish sauce. Most people are afraid of fish sauce (okay, by "most" people I mean all of my very not Asian friends in the central Texas region), but be not afraid of fish sauce! It's what you're missing in many of the meals that you eat. I'm pretty sure that the lack of depth in my Thai curry is due to my timidity with the fish sauce. And thanks to White on Rice Couple I've discovered that what I've been missing from my burgers has been fish sauce.
Adapted from White on Rice Couple:
1 lb ground beef (I used 90/10 grass fed)
1 Tbs fish sauce
3 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp sugar
Mix fish sauce, garlic, pepper, and sugar in a bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. No need for salt here since the fish sauce provides plenty. Mix into the ground beef and let sit for about 30 minutes. Form into four 1/2 inch patties and cook in your favorite (or only legal) method. Apparently the city of Austin forbids grills on apartment patios, so we cook all our burgers in a piping hot cast iron skillet. Flip once and *never* smash. Then, top the patties in (bleu) cheese and cover towards the end such that the cheese gets nice and melted. We ate ours with umami packed mushrooms that were sauteed in butter, garlic, and the most expensive olive oil I've ever bought. But I guess I have to use it at some point.