Since the sun has decided to appear this summer…a little bit (in the Northwest!)…and there is nothing better than a great burger grilled in the back yard, let’s chat burgers! Burgers are hot these days – from Seattle to New York, there seems to be gourmet burger places popping up everywhere. You can certainly find some hip burger combos around the city with some unusual combinations, such as peanut butter and bacon, pimento cheese and pickled peppers or even a “shee shee” croquet madam version topped with a fried egg, ham and a sprinkle of crispy julienned truffle fries. These are not your typical meat-on-a-bun burgers!
How about hosting a DIY burger bash – you provide the burgers , buns and toppings and then ask your guests to bring a fun salad or delectable dessert, and you’ve got the city’s hottest new gourmet burger bar right in your own backyard! This is a great way to let family and friends build their own dream burger with the only limit being their imagination!
Pick up some artisan buns from one of our fab local bakeries like Macrina or Essential for a tasty base to your burger masterpiece and use different types of patties and meats; local grass-fed beef, lamb, salmon, turkey and even portabella add a little flair to the classic burger.
Offering a variety of spreads and toppings is another fantastic way to jazz up a burger; pestos, mayo jazzed up with fresh herbs mixed in, chipotle ketchup, unique mustards. On the cheese side of things, you could put out soft chevre goat cheese, sliced fresh mozzarella, aged gruyere, white cheddar…get creative! You’re not limited to just pickles, either. I love to mix it up with sliced cornichons, pepperoncini, pickled daikon or even kim chee. From the market, pick up local heirloom tomatoes, crisp arugula, and fresh cucumbers for crunch – the possibilities are boundless.
Here is one of my favorite gourmet burgers – my Italian inspired Bruschetta, Pesto and Arugula Burger, topped with delicious fresh mozzarella, sweet onions and a luscious drizzle of balsamic glaze.
So whether you’re hosting a hungry crowd or just making dinner interesting, go forth and grill up some gourmet burger goodness! Cheers! – Kathy
Tomato Bruschetta, Pesto and Arugula Burgers
Makes 6 half-pound burgers
3 lbs. lean ground beef
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
3 large vine ripe tomatoes, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
sliced fresh mozzarella
sliced sweet onion
fresh arugula, washed and dried
balsamic glaze, available at well-stocked grocery and specialty stores
6 artisanal buns
To make the burgers: Mix meat, salt, pepper, soy sauce, Worcestershire and garlic until thoroughly combined. Shape beef into 6 equal patties, about 5 inches in diameter.
To make the Tomato Bruschetta: In a medium bowl, combine all the bruschetta ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
To grill: Heat charcoal or gas grill until very hot. Set patties apart on grill, turning when first side is browned. Top with with cheese and cook to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side and until the cheese is melted, depending on your heat. Split buns and toast lightly.
To serve, spread a generous portion of pesto on the top and bottom buns. Place the burgers on buns, top with bruschetta tomatoes, sweet onions and a generous helping of fresh arugula, drizzled with balsamic glaze, top and serve.
Recipe © 2011 Kathy Casey Food Studios