RECIPES: Recipe Details

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12th & Reed Burgers (with Gorgonzola-Mint Mayo, Figs & Green Peppercorns)

Whenever someone asks my husband where he grew up, he always says: "At 12th & Reed" and anyone from around here knows exactly what he means. After we were married, we lived with my husband's parents for 4 years in their South Philadelphia row house (just a stone's throw across the Delaware River from where we now live). I am a Western Pennsylvanian of Hungarian descent, but was quickly assimilated into his large Italian family and grew to love the foods. This burger was inspired by the huge fig tree that grew in their tiny, tiny backyard, the mint that grew below it and their prevalent use of fennel and pancetta. His parents have since died, but their food traditions have been passed on to our sons and grandchildren and, hopefully, in this burger.

Ingredients 

GORGONZOLA-MINT MAYO:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

PATTIES:
1/2 pound thinly sliced pancetta
2 pounds ground beef chuck
1/4 cup Sutter Home White Zinfandel
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons bottled, brined green peppercorns, drained & finely ground in a mini food processor
2 tablespoons fennel seed, ground medium-fine in a spice grinder
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
6 round Italian sandwich rolls, split
6 large ripe fresh figs or 12 small ripe fresh figs, sliced

Instructions 

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover or heat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make Gorgonzola-mint mayo, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Separate pancetta slices (they needn't stay intact) and place on the grill rack on a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Grill until very crisp, 4 to 6 minutes.

Place ground chuck, wine and garlic in a large bowl. Combine the green peppercorns and next 5 ingredients and add to bowl. Handling meat as little as possible, mix well and shape into 6 patties formed to fit the rolls. Brush grill rack with vegetable oil and grill patties to desired degree of doneness, 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium. During last few minutes of grilling time, lightly toast both sides of rolls on edge of grill.

To assemble burgers, spread mayo on cut sides of rolls. Place patties on bottom halves, top with pancetta and figs, then replace roll tops.

Makes 6 burgers.

Comments 

This is a great combination of the hotness of the burger (with the green peppercorns & crushed red pepper); creamy, bitey gorgonzola; saltiness of the pancetta; and the sweet figs.