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Mediterranean Burgers with Walnut Aioli and Pomegranate Honey Glaze

Pomegranate seems to be the flavor of 2006. So I couldn't resist in trying to build a better burger with pomegranate. In this recipe I used pomegranate syrup, which is concentrated pomegranate juice for a unique tart and complex flavor. Since walnuts are used throughout the Mediterranean in cooking, I made an aioli using the nuts and also found a wonderful brie-like cheese studded with walnuts in our supermarket to further bring out the walnut flavor. Enjoy this burger with Sutter Home Merlot

Ingredients 

1/3 cup Pomegranate syrup
2 Tablespoon Ponzu sauce
1/4 cup honey
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1 Tablespoon minced gingerroot, divided
2 lbs. ground chuck
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 cup ground toasted walnuts
2 Tablespoons roasted garlic puree
2/3 cup Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Vegetable oil to brush grill
6 soft Poppy Seed Kaiser rolls, split
6 oz. Mirabo soft ripened cheese studded with walnuts
3 cup baby arugula
3/4 cup julienne sun dried tomatoes
1 small red onion, thinly sliced

Instructions 

1.Preheat a gas grill with cover to medium-high. 2.To make the Pomegranate Honey Glaze: in a small bowl combine pomegranate syrup, ponzu, honey, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon minced gingerroot. Mix well to blend. 3. To make the patties: drizzle 1/3 cup of Pomegranate Honey Glaze over the ground meat. Add salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 2 teaspoons gingerroot. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions. Let the patties rest a moment and prepare the Walnut Aioli. 4. In a small bowl combine, walnuts, garlic puree, olive oil and lemon juice. Stir to thoroughly blend ingredients. Set aside to allow ingredients to marry. 5. Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack brush lightly with Pomegranate Honey Glaze, cover, and grill until browned on the bottoms, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the patties, baste with glaze and continue grilling until done to preference, about 4-5 minutes longer for medium. During the last few minutes of grilling, carefully place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly. During the last 30 seconds of grilling, top each burger with a slice of the cheese. 6.To assemble burgers, evenly spread the walnut aioli over the toasted rolls. Layer the bottom half of the rolls with arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, and red onion. Top with the burgers. Cover burgers with roll tops. Serve immediately. Serves 6

Comments 

Pomegranate syrup is found in finer grocery stores and middle eastern markets or on-line through zingermann's or other fine retailers. To make your own Pomegranate syrup. Bring 1 cup pomegranate juice to a boil with juice of 1 lemon and 1 teaspoon sugar; simmer to reduce to 1/3 cup. I used Mirabo soft cheese, which is imported from Germany. However, I have also found other soft-ripened cheeses, with walnuts. Tip it is easier to slice the cheese when chilled.