Wine Varietal: Zinfandel
In both food magazines and on cooking programs, I have seen a trend to use one ingredient several ways in a main dish.By repeatedly highlighting one part of the whole, the dish itself becomes more interesting and complex. While multiple ingredient possibilities presented themselves for creating a burger, mushrooms provide a range of creative preparation techniques: Processing dried porcinis into a dust and applying to the patties imparts such a rich flavor! I also reduce a mixture of mushrooms and wine to create a tasty mayo and finish by balancing the strong umami flavors of this burger with a bright punch of acidity and hint of sweet- heat in the marinated mushroom salad. This is not your expected mushroom cheeseburger, enjoy!
Grilled and Marinated Mushroom Salad
4 tablespoons Colavita Olive Oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon garlic
1 tablespoon thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/4 cup grated carrot
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Zin-Soaked Mushroom Mayo
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped shiitake mushrooms caps
3/4 cup Sutter Home Zinfandel
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/4 pounds ground chuck (80/20)
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
3 tablespoons thyme leaves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons soy sauce
Vegetable oil, for seasoning the grill rack
9 ounces Fontina cheese, cut into thick slices arranged to fit the patties
6 Brioche Rolls, split
3 tablespoons butter, softened
12 butter lettuce leaves
To begin the grilled and marinated mushroom salad, combine the Colavita olive oil, soy sauce, minced garlic, thyme leaves and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Add the sliced mushrooms and mix well to coat. Set aside for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in a second bowl, combine the sliced red onion and grated carrots with the red wine vinegar, kosher salt and sugar. Set aside. Heat a gas grill to medium-high. When ready, and after the mushrooms have marinated, drain the mushrooms, reserving 2 tablespoons of the marinade. Grill the drained mushrooms in a single layer on a mesh grill pan (several batches may be necessary), turning once, until golden, 7-10 minutes. Allow the mushrooms to cool and combine with the onion-carrot mixture along with the reserved marinade and fresh lemon juice. Set the completed grilled mushroom salad aside at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until burger assembly.
To prepare the Zin-soaked mushroom mayo, combine the mushrooms and zinfandel in a small, fire-proof, saucepan on a grill over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the wine has reduced to approximately 1 tablespoon, 8-10 minutes. Remove from the grill and allow the mushrooms to cool for at least 30 minutes. Scrape the mushroom mixture into a food processor and briefly process to create a coarse paste. Transfer the processed mushrooms to a small bowl and combine with the mayonnaise. Cover and chill until ready to use.
To make the porcini-dusted patties, use a food processor to grind the dried porcini’s in batches until a fine dust. Transfer the dust to a shallow container and mix with the kosher salt. Set aside. Spread out the ground chuck in a large, shallow bowl. Add the garlic, thyme leaves and soy sauce to the beef and mix until just combined using a large spoon. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form into patties the shape of the rolls with a slight center indentation. To coat the patties with the mushroom mixture, place each patty into the dust and press lightly to adhere. Gently tap off the excess dried mushrooms before repeating the porcini-dusting process on the opposite side of the patties.
Heat the grill to medium-high and, with a cloth or brush, apply a layer of vegetable oil to the rack. Place the patties on the rack, cover and grill, turning once, until done to preference, 4 to 5 minutes for medium. During the final few minutes of grilling top each patty evenly with the cheese, allowing it to melt with the cover closed. Place the patties on a platter and tent with aluminum foil to allow the juices to redistribute while spreading the cut sides of the rolls with butter and placing cut side down on the edges of the grill to toast (1-2 minutes).
To assemble the burgers, begin by draining the mushroom salad of liquid and spread the cut sides of the rolls with equal amounts of the mayo. On each roll bottom, place a porcini-dusted, cheese-topped patty followed by 2 butter lettuce leaves and an equal distribution of the mushroom salad. Add the roll tops and serve.
Makes 6 Burgers