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Heirloom Tomato and Goat Cheese Burgers with Balsamic-Fig Drizzle

Delicious heirloom tomatoes add great flavor and beautiful color to these burgers. Try to find yellow, red and orange varieties. I like to add hot sausage to the ground chuck to give a little hint of heat to the burgers. Creamy goat cheese and a rich balsamic fig drizzle add extra layers of flavors for a true grilled treat.


3 tablespoons Colavita Olive Oil
1 large shallot, minced
1/3 cup chopped dried California figs
1/4 cup Sutter Home Merlot
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
1/2 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed & crumbled
3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
Oil to brush the grill rack
6 Ciabatta rolls, split
1 cup mixed mesclun greens
12 – 1/2 inch thick slices of mixed varieties of Heirloom tomatoes
9 ounces mild goat cheese


Preheat a gas grill to medium high heat. In a large skillet, on the hot grill, heat the 3 tablespoons Colavita Olive oil. Stir in the shallots and cook until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the figs, Sutter Home Merlot and balsamic vinegar. Let mixture cook over the grill for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently until reduced and thickened. Remove from the grill and transfer to a food processor. Add the Grey Poupon Dijon mustard and the thyme and process until smooth; set aside. In a large bowl combine the beef chuck, the crumbled sausage and 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt. Gently combine the meats and then form into 6 equal sized patties. Lightly brush the grill rack with oil. Place the patties on the grill, close cover and cook for 4 minutes. Using a spatula, flip burgers and cook an additional 5 minutes for medium or until desired doneness. During the last 2 minutes of cooking arrange the rolls split side down on the edges of the grill and cook until lightly toasted. To assemble the burgers, arrange a few of the mesclun greens on the bottom half of each roll, top each with two of the tomato slices (preferably two different colored tomatoes). Sprinkle the tomatoes with the remaining teaspoon of kosher salt, evenly dividing. Top the tomatoes with a patty and then top with the goat cheese (evenly dividing). Drizzle the balsamic-fig sauce over each, evenly dividing. Top with remaining bun halves and serve immediately. Yield: 6 burgers