Wine Varietal: Pinot Noir
I think it’s important to support my local cheese makers, so the cheese of choice for these Connecticut inspired burgers is a delicious Bridgid’s Abbey cheese- an award winning cheese (named for the patron saint of dairy and cattle workers) produced locally here in Connecticut at a farm called Cato Corner. Their cheese is often featured in restaurants, gourmet cheese shops and supermarkets across the country. When it comes to local Connecticut flavors, the bittersweet end to summer has another bright spot: our farmer’s markets and supermarkets are bursting with countless varieties of tomatoes. Delicious heirloom tomatoes add great flavor and beautiful color to these burgers. Try to find yellow, red or even green and orange varieties for a colorful presentation. I like to add a touch of hot sausage to the ground chuck to give a little hint of heat to these otherwise simple burgers. A rich lemony avocado dressing adds an extra layer of flavor for a true grilled treat. Because of the Ciabatta rolls’ tender firmness, they are an excellent choice for holding in all the juicy goodness of these burgers.
2 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
1/2 pound Johnsonville All Natural ground hot Italian sausage
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
Oil to brush the grill rack
1 tablespoon shallot finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 very ripe fresh California avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
9 ounces Cato Corner Farm Bridgid’s Abbey Cheese, divided into 6 portions
6 Ciabatta rolls, split
1 cup mixed mesclun greens
12 – 1/2 inch thick slices of mixed varieties of Heirloom tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat a gas grill to medium high heat.
In a large bowl combine the beef chuck, the crumbled sausage and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Gently combine the meats and then form into 6 equal sized patties.
Lightly brush the grill rack with oil. Place the patties on the grill, close the cover and cook for 4 minutes. Using a spatula, flip burgers, top with the Bridgid’s Abbey cheese (evenly dividing) and cook an additional 4-5 minutes for medium or until desired doneness. While the patties are cooking, prepare the Lemon-Avocado dressing.
In a small food processor or blender, combine the shallot, lemon juice, lemon zest, avocado, sour cream and thyme; process until smooth. During the last 2 minutes of grilling arrange the rolls split side down on the edges of the grill and cook until lightly toasted.
To assemble the burgers, spoon a generous amount of the Lemon-Avocado dressing on the bottom half of each roll and arrange a few of the mesclun greens on top of the dressing. Top the greens with two of the tomato slices (preferably two different colored tomatoes). Season the tomatoes with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, evenly dividing. Top the tomatoes with a patty, cheese side up. Top the patties with the roll tops and serve immediately.
Yield: 6 burgers