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Le Burger Provençal

This burger makes use of some of my favorite ingredients - French bread, French cheese, olives - which call to mind not only France but also the northern California wine region as well. I recommend looking for an Herbes de Provence blend that's heavy on the lavender for a unique flavor that blends surprisingly well with beef. Pre-roasting the tomatoes, olives and mushrooms lends a tasty smoky body to the overall recipe.


Grilled tomatoes:
3 medium- sized vine ripe tomatoes
Colavita extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
Roasted olives:
1/2 c. pitted Niçoise or Kalamata olives
Grilled mushrooms:
1 c. fresh white button mushrooms
Colavita extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt freshly
ground black pepper
Dijon sauce:
3 tb. coarse grain
Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
2 tb. mayonnaise
2 tb. honey
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Burger patties:
1 lb. ground beef sirloin
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tb. Herbes de Provence
1/2 c. grilled chopped mushrooms
2 tb. Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon
Vegetable oil for brushing on the grill rack
1 French baguette loaf
1/2 disk of Brie


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Cut tomatoes in half, drizzle with Colavita extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and pepper. Place tomatoes cut side down on grill and let roast until tomatoes are slightly charred, but not so soft they are falling through the grates (about 10 minutes). Remove tomatoes from grill and let cool. Remove peels, squeeze tomatoes gently to remove seeds, roughly dice and place into a small bowl. Slice pitted olives in half lengthwise. Place olives in a single layer onto a piece of aluminum foil. Fold foil over olives to create a packet and then fold edges of foil packet in to seal tightly. Place packet onto grill for 10 minutes to roast olives inside. Remove packet from grill, place olive halves into a small bowl and set aside. Wipe mushrooms with a damp paper towel to remove any dirt. Drizzle whole mushrooms lightly with Colavita extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and pepper. Grill mushrooms until they are just lightly charred and start to shrink slightly, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from grill. When mushrooms are cool, dice finely, place into small bowl and set aside. (After grilling and chopping, should yield about 1/2 c. of mushrooms.) To make Dijon sauce, combine Grey Poupon Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, honey, garlic and lemon juice in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use. To make burger patties: add ground sirloin, garlic, kosher salt, pepper, Herbes de Provence, chopped mushrooms and Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon to a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix by hand to incorporate seasonings. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form each portion into a patty, slightly indenting each in the center. Slice the baguette into six 3 to 4-inch long sections, then slice each section in half to create a top and bottom “bun.” Slice the Brie into thin burger-sized wedges. Brush the grill rack lightly with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover and grill until browned on the bottoms, about 3-4 minutes. Turn the patties and continue grilling until done to preference, about 3 minutes longer for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, place baguette slices cut side down on outer edge of the grill to toast lightly. At end of cooking, top each burger patty with a slice or two of Brie and close grill just until cheese starts to melt over meat. To assemble the burgers, place a generous spoonful of roasted diced tomatoes on the bottom slice of the baguette bun, top with a Brie-covered hamburger patty and several olives. Spread top of bun with Dijon sauce, place on top of burger, serve and enjoy. Makes six burgers.


My taste-testers love the meat seasonings in this recipe. A good crusty loaf of peasant-style French bread would also work well if you can't find a baguette, just make sure the bread is hearty enough to stand up to the juicy ingredients inside.