RECIPES: Recipe Details

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I'm not a hamburger lover, probably because when I was quite young, my mother forced me to sit at the kitchen table until I had eaten what I remember to be an overcooked, overly dry and lacking-in-flavor burger. It took 3 glasses of milk to wash it down. So, I have explored many ways to make a hamburger even I'll enjoy that is full of flavor and truly moist (and not due solely to the amount of fat in the meat).


3 tablespoons sun-dried tomato pesto
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ cup mayonnaise
1 ¼ cups combination Kalamata and black olives, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 anchovy fillets, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon capers, drained
¾ cup pine nuts
¼ cup Sutter Home Merlot
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 pounds ground chuck
3 yellow bell pepper, cut in half and seeded
3 cups mesclun Bread Ciabatta rolls, sliced in half lengthwise
½ pound block of feta cheese, sliced thinly
Vegetable oil for greasing the grill.


Start the Grill: Prepare the grill with medium-hot fire for direct-heat cooking, remembering to brush the grill with vegetable oil before grilling. Spread: Make spread by combining the sun-dried tomato pesto with the mustard and mayonnaise until well mixed. Refrigerate until ready to use. Burgers: Place the Kalamata olives, black olives, garlic, and anchovy fillets in a food processor. Process until coarsely chopped. Remove from the processor and place in a large bowl with the lemon zest, extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts, wine, salt, pepper and ground chuck. Mix well and divide into 6 equal portions, forming patties. Set aside. Topping: Grill both the yellow peppers until blackened and soft. Cool slightly and remove skin. Set aside. Bread: Cut the ciabatta rolls in half. Slice the feta cheese into thin slices. Generously apply ½ of the spread on the top halves of the rolls and evenly distribute the feta cheese over the six roll tops. Grilling: Lay a piece of aluminum foil over half of the coals where you will cook the top half of the rolls as the hamburgers cook. Place the hamburger patties on the grill and cook until nicely browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. Turn over and continue to grill for another 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the patties from the grill as soon as they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees F to preserve juiciness. At the same time you are cooking the patties, place the top halves of the rolls on the foil until the cheese melts. Remove and set aside. Discard the foil and use that part of the grill to toast the bottom halves of the rolls. Remove them from the grill and apply the remaining spread on the bottom halves. Assembly: To assemble, place patties on the bottom halves of the rolls. Stack 1 slice of yellow bell pepper on top of each patty, followed by a handful of mesclun. Cover with roll top halves and enjoy! Makes 6 burgers.


Even El Greco would relish this burger. It is deservingly named after him, considering that olives date back to prehistoric Greece and the Kalamata olive, along with feta cheese, play an important part in the flavor of this burger. Not only can you taste the individual ingredients that make up this burger, but they all beautifully complement each other to create a sensational amalgamation of tastes. By incorporating the ingredients within the burger rather than those ingredients being used as a spread, the hamburger remains moist and juicy not an easy task when ground beef must be cooked thoroughly for food safety reasons.