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Greek Taverna Burger - smothered with a hot pepper feta cheese spread & topped with a Greek-style Salsa

Greeks are passionate about food. You can tell by the way we cook and the way we eat. Burgers are not traditionally found on a Greek menu. However, this burger is inspired by Greek meatballs - bifteki - and it is smothered with a succulent hot pepper feta cheese spread that I have perfeced and am never invited to someone's house without. It is then topped with what I call a "Greek-style Salsa". There is no cilantro here. Instead, I use basil and parsley, both standard ingredients in most Greek cuisine and of course, as in all Greek dishes - olive oil is a must. The olive oil must be fresh, flavorful and full-bodied. Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil fits the bill and helps make this burger over the top. This burger is simply oozing with flavor. Try it yourself - bet you can't have just one.

Ingredients 

GREEK - STYLE SALSA:
3 cups diced fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup diced onion
2 tbs. fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
3 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tbs. chopped parsley
1/4 cup Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
HOT PEPPER FETA CHEESE SPREAD (tirokafteri):
1 medium fresh jalapeno pepper - grilled, peeled and seeded
1 1/2 cups Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 lbs. feta cheese
1 tbsp. black pepper
PATTIES:
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef chuck
1/4 lbs. ground veal
1/4 lbs. ground pork
1 small onion chopped
1/2 loaf of stale (day old) white baguette
1/4 cups plain breadcrumbs
1/3 cup flavored breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. Greek oregano
1 tsp. Emeril\\\\\\\'s Original Essence
6 seeded Kaiser rolls, split
Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil to brush grill

Instructions 

*********To make the GREEK-STYLE SALSA: Begin by combining in a medium bowl - the diced tomatoes, diced onion, fresh jalapeno pepper - seeded and diced, chopped basil, chopped parsley, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients with a spoon, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

********Preheat the gas grill to medium high. Place 1 medium jalapeno pepper on the grill and grill it 3 minutes per side. Take it off the grill and let it cool. This pepper will be used for the hot pepper feta cheese spread.

**********To make the HOT PEPPER FETA CHEESE SPREAD: take the grilled jalapeno pepper and make sure it has cooled. Peel the skin off of the pepper, cut and discard the stem and remove the seeds. Put the pepper in a food processor with half of the olive oil and pulse unitl the pepper is dissolved into a paste. Empty the contents of the food processor into a large bowl. Crumble the feta cheese and add it to the bowl. Add in the remaining olive oil and black pepper. Mash the ingredients with a potato masher until it forms into a smooth, thick spread. Use a spoon to mix it up a little more. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

***********To make the PATTIES: combine in a large bowl the ground beef chuck, ground veal and ground pork. Take the chopped onion, put it in the food processor and add 1 tbs. of water. Pulse it in the processor until it liquifies. Take 1/2 a cup of the liquified onions and add it to the meat mixture. Take the bread, place it in a bowl of water, make sure the bread absorbs the water. Take out the bread and squeeze out the excess water and place it in a food processor. Pulse it a couple of times, take 1/2 a cup of the bread out of the processor and add it to meat mixture. Add the breadcrumbs (plain and flavored), the beaten eggs, salt, pepper, oregano and Emeril's Original Essence. Mix with your hands until well combined and form 6 large patties.

**********Brush the grill that has been preheated to medium high heat with olive oil and place the patties on the grill. Grill them for 6 minutes on one side, turn once and grill the other side for 5 minutes. During the final minutes of grilling, place the split Kaiser rolls cut side down and toast lightly.

************To assemble the burgers, place the buns on a plate, cut side up. Brush some of the oil from the salsa on each side of the bun. Spread a generous amount of the hot pepper feta cheese spread on both sides of the bun. Place the patty on the bottom bun, spoon 1 tbs. of the Greek-style Salsa over the patty, place the top bun over it and serve.

Comments 

The simplest tastes and flavors are most often the best. This is a simple recipe - all the prep work can be done well in advance. The ingredients are simple and basic - combined, they yield a most flavorful and delectable burger. Take a bite, close your eyes and enjoy the fusion of Greek flavors!