CHICKEN CORDON BLEU BURGER WITH GRILLED ASPARAGUS ‘N FRESH TOMATO-BASIL MAYO SPREAD

Wine Varietal: White Zinfandel

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Chicken cordon bleu is a favorite main meal I serve with fresh asparagus and the inspiration for my chicken burger creation. Instead of using chicken breasts, I went with ground chicken thighs for moisture and flavor. I added a small amount of cream to the cheese-bacon filling so the filling would have a softer texture. I arranged grilled asparagus spears over each patty the final minutes of cooking and placed a slice of Havarti Dill cheese over the top to hold the asparagus in place. I smeared a lemony fresh cherry tomato, basil and mayo spread over the cut side of the toasted roll top before closing the burger and serving.

Ingredients:

TOMATO-BASIL MAYO SPREAD
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/3 cup diced Nature Sweet cherry tomatoes (1/4-inch-dice)

FILLING:
3 slices lean applewood smoked bacon
1/3 cup grated medium sharp California Baby Swiss Cheese
1/3 cup crumbled California bleu cheese
2 teaspoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

PATTIES:
2 pounds fresh ground skinless, boneless chicken thighs
3 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
1-3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

3 sheets Reynolds wrap non-stick foil (divided use)
Vegetable oil to brush grill rack

24 fresh asparagus spears (medium to small size tips)
1 tablespoon Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Colavita balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

6 slices California Havarti Dill cheese
6 sesame seeded Kaiser rolls, split horizontally
6 pieces Boston lettuce to fit rolls

Instructions:

Preheat a gas grill to medium-high or prepare a charcoal grill fire to medium-hot.

For spread, in a small bowl, stir mayonnaise, basil, lemon juice and lemon zest together. Refrigerate covered until needed. Place tomatoes in a dish; set aside until needed.

For filling, on grill side burner or rack, cook bacon in a fireproof skillet until crisp. Drain on a paper towels then crumble bacon when cool and place in a small bowl. Stir in Swiss cheese, bleu cheese, cream and pepper until combined. On a work surface, divide cheese mixture into 6 equal portions.

For patties, in a large bowl combine chicken, garlic, salt and pepper. Gently mix together then on work surface, divide chicken mixture into 12 equal portions. Encase a portion of filling in one portion of chicken mixture forming a mini-patty. Work a second portion of chicken mixture around mini-patty then gently flatten to form a patty sized to fit roll. Make an indentation in center of patty. Repeat procedure with remaining portions of chicken mixture and filling mixture. Place patties on a platter, cover with Reynolds wrap and refrigerate.

For asparagus, trim asparagus into 3-inch-long spears. Place spears in a medium bowl, drizzle with oil and vinegar. Toss to coat then season with salt. Grill asparagus on grill rack or a nonstick grill tray set on grill, slightly rolling spears each minute while browning in spots-do not char. Remove spears once crisp-tender to a sheet of Reynolds wrap; seal to keep warm.

Brush grill rack generously with vegetable oil. Retrieve chicken patties and place on grill rack. Cover and cook patties 6 to 7 minutes per side or until juices run clear. The final minute of grilling, place 4 asparagus spears, alternating tips and ends, over each patty. Top with a slice of cheese, cover grill until cheese slightly melts. Remove patties to a platter; tent loosely with Reynolds wrap. Place rolls, cut side down on grill rack and toast lightly.

To assemble patties, cover each toasted roll bottom with lettuce then top with a patty. Retrieve mayo mixture and tomatoes. Remove tomatoes from dish using a slotted spoon, leaving juice behind and stir tomatoes into mayo mixture. Slather mayo over toasted side of roll top and cover patty. Serve immediately.

6 burgers