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13 Degrees North of the Equator Burger

Located 13 degrees north of the equator in the Pacific rim is the tiny island of Guam. A melting pot of cultures and a mixture of fresh local ingredients created a unique and delicious cuisine unlike anywhere else in the world. This recipe is my adaptation of one of the island's most popular fiesta dishes-Beef Kelaguen with Finadene sauce. The use of sweet coconut with a delicate spicy undertone mixes surprisingly well with the rich flavor of beef. Accented with creamy avocado, a hint of tart and another hint of piquant sweetness from the chili flavored olive oil, all combine to create a new taste in burgers.

Ingredients 

FINADENE SAUCE: 1 large sweet onion 1/4 cup soy sauce 1/4 cup rice vinegar 4 teaspoons Sriracha hot chili sauce BURGERS: 2 jalapeno peppers 5 tablespoons Colavita extra virgin olive oil 3 teaspoons Kosher salt 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper 1/2 cup coconut milk 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut Zest of 1 lemon + 1 tsp. lemon juice 1 large avocado 2 pounds ground sirloin oil for brushing grill racks 6 cracked wheat hamburger buns, sliced 6 red leaf lettuce leaves 6 (1/4" thick) tomato slices

Instructions 

Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat or prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover. To prepare the finadene sauce slice the onion in half and small dice 1/2 cup of the onion. Slice the remaining onion in thin slices, approximately 1/8 inch and reserve for later use. In a small bowl stir together soy sauce, rice vinegar and 2 teaspoons of the hot chili sauce-reserving the remaining 2 teaspoons for later use. Add the diced onions and mix well to coat all pieces. Set aside, allowing the onions to marinade and the flavors to develop. Cut the jalapeno peppers in half lengthwise, removing the seeds and ribs. Thinly slice crosswise and place with the reserved onion slices. Put 1 tablespoon Colavita extra virgin olive oil in a 10-inch nonstick, fire-proof skillet and place on the grill to pre-heat. Set aside the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil for later use. Add the onions and jalapeno peppers to the hot skillet, season with a 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, cover with a lid and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Remove the lid, reduce the heat and add the coconut milk and shredded coconut. Do not boil, but simmer 10-12 minutes or until the coconut milk has been reduced and absorbed in the shredded coconut. Place coconut mixture in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until all ingredients are finely minced. Set aside to cool. Leave the grill on, but reduce the heat. With a Microplane fine zester remove the zest of the lemon and set aside for later use. Cut the avocado in half, discard the pit and spoon out the flesh. Squeeze 1 teaspoon of lemon juice from the zested lemon. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the avocado tossing gently but coating evenly and mash with a fork to a chunky consistency. With a slotted spoon remove the onions from the finadene sauce and combine them with the avocado. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper then mix well. Set aside. Whisk remaining 4 tablespoons of Colavita olive oil with the remaining 2 teaspoons of Sriracha chili sauce and set aside for later use. To prepare the patties, add 1 cup of the coconut mixture to the ground sirloin, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon ground pepper and the zest of the lemon. Mix gently to combine all ingredients, taking care not to over work and compact the meat. Form six equal sized patties to fit the buns. Check and adjust the grill temperature back to medium-high. When the grill is ready, brush with oil. Place patties on the grill rack and close the lid. Allow to cook without turning, approximately 5 to 7 minutes, then turn the patties over and continue to cook another 5 to 7 minutes. Brush cut side of the buns with the spicy olive oil mixture and place on the outer edge of the grill to toast. When the burgers are done cooking, turn off the heat and brush the top side lightly with the remaining finadene sauce before removing from the grill. To assemble burgers, place a leaf of red lettuce on the bottom half of the toasted bun followed by the burger. Top with a tomato slice, a pinch of salt and pepper and a healthy tablespoon of the avocado mixture. Add the top of the bun and serve.

Comments 

Merlot is my favorite wine and a classic pairing with beef. But, 110 degrees in the desert requires creativity. Chef Starr's use of White Merlot piqued my interest. My guests found an icy cold glass of this wine a perfect companion to a 13 Degrees North of the Equator Burger.