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Flattened Keftedes on Black Olive Ciabatta

Every year in June a nearby city has a big event called the “Chew Chew” in which many of the local eateries participate. There are 3 big tents partitioned into booths were venders sell up to 4 appetizers. My favorite is the Gyro booth because they make small Greek meatballs called Keftedes served on pita bread with a wonderful yogurt sauce. This burger is a bigger version of the Gyro served on slices of black olive loaf.

Ingredients 

 2 cups plain yogurt or Greek style (strained) yogurt
---- Patties ----
1 cup Sutter Home Chardonnay
2 loafs black olive Ciabatta bread or other square shaped artisan olive bread
4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 large yellow onion
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 large eggs beaten
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 whole leaves and 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
2 1/2 pounds ground Angus sirloin
---- Cucumber Sauce ----
2 cucumbers
2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
Olive oil for the grill
8 ounces herbed Feta cheese
18 leafs of arugula, stem part removed – leaves only

Instructions 

If you didn't find Greek yogurt, which is strained, you can strain plain yogurt by lining a strainer with cheesecloth and spooning the yogurt onto it. Place the strainer over a bowl and set it in a cool location for about an hour. Do this first before making the patties so it has time to drain. Overnight is even better. Pour the wine in a small bowl. Cut the real crusty ends off the loaves of bread. Then, cut a 1/2 inch thick slice of bread from each end. You now have 4 slices. Submerge a slice of bread in the wine and wring it out a little to drain off excess wine. Repeat with the remaining bread slices. Chop the slices into 1/4 inch cubes and place them in a medium bowl. Discard, or consume the remaining wine. Smash the garlic with the flat side of a knife. Chop finely and place the sea salt on top. Slowly drag the knife over the salt - garlic mixture such that the knife is almost flat side down on the board. Keep doing this to make a garlic / salt paste. Add a little more than half of the paste to the bread and reserve the rest for the sauce later. Peel and grate the onion. Wring out some of the liquid using your hands. Add the grated onion, parsley, eggs and pepper to the soaked bread. Set aside the 12 whole leaves of mint for garnish but add the 3 tablespoons of chopped mint to the bread and stir gently using a fork to combine. Add the ground beef to a large mixing bowl and fold in the bread - herb mixture. Once everything is combined the patties can be formed. Make 6 equal portioned, semi - oval shaped patties so they will fit the form of the bread. When making the patties, try not to compress the meat so the burger will retain its moisture. Place the finished patties in a cool place. To make the sauce, lift up the yogurt using the cheesecloth and dump the yogurt into a medium bowl. Mix in the remaining garlic-salt paste. Peel one cucumber and cut it in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds by running a spoon down the center. Grate the cucumber over the cheesecloth and lightly wring out the water from the shredded cucumber. Add the shredded cucumber to the yogurt along with the dill. Mix well with a fork and set aside in a cool spot. Preheat the grill to medium high heat. When the grate is hot, clean with a wire brush and brush the grate with olive oil to prevent sticking. Add the patties directly over medium high heat and cook for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes rotate the burgers 45 degrees and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Flip the burgers over and repeat the process of cooking for 2 minutes, rotate, then another 2. After a total of 8 minutes, remove the burgers from heat, place on a dish and cover the dish with foil. Slice the bread in half lengthwise parallel to the table with a bread knife so each loaf has 2 pieces, a top half and a bottom half. Place the cut side down on the grill and allow to toast for 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the grill and allow each piece to cool for about a minute. Make some small diagonal slits every half inch on the cut side of all 4 slices of the bread. Don't go all the way through, just about half way will do. These slits will later be filled with sauce. Assemble the top and bottom halves back into a loaf. Cut each loaf into thirds widthwise making the width of the cuts as wide as the finished patties. You may have some left over because the width of 3 patties might be smaller the size of the loaf. You will then have 6 top and bottom olive slices fit for 6 Keftedes burgers. Slice the other cucumber on the diagonal discarding the ends. Crumble the feta into a bowl. Spread the crumbles over the warm meat. Mix any leftover crumbles with the cucumber sauce. Place the reserved mint leaves on top of each other and roll up diagonally. Slice on the diagonal, creating fine strips of mint. To assemble the patties, spread the sauce liberally over both the top and bottom of the cut bread. The bread is slotted so it should suck up a good amount of sauce. Add 3 leafs of arugula and place a patty top of that. Top the patty with 3 or 4 slices of cucumber and then another tablespoon of sauce and a good pinch of mint strips. Top it all off with the top slice of bread. Repeat for the other 5 burgers. Makes 6 burgers.