RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Perfect Harvest Wine Country Burgers

The beautiful vineyards of Napa, brimming with ripe grapes. Since I can't write poetry to describe, I devised a burger!

Ingredients 

1/2 cup prepared, good quality ranch dressing

1/4 cup prepared barbecue sauce (divided usage)

1 teaspoon Tabasco Chipotle Chile Sauce

1 tablespoon canola oil, plus additional for brushing grill rack

2 pounds ground chuck, well chilled

1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped (lightly packed)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into 3 or 4 thick slices.

1 bunch of seedless black or red grapes (about 1 pound)

½ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 whole grain hamburger rolls, split

6 butter lettuce leaves

2 to 3 ounces Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese, shaved into shards with a vegetable peeler

Instructions 

Preheat outdoor grill to medium high heat. Whisk together ranch dressing, 2 tablespoons of the barbecue sauce (reserve remaining sauce for later use) and Tabasco. Cover and chill.

Combine the ground chuck with the chopped parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper and remaining 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce. Mix lightly just until combined, handling as little as possible. Divide mixture into 6 equal portions and shape into patties. Make a slight depression in the center of each patty; chill.

Brush the cleaned grill rack generously with oil. Place the onion slices and the bunch of grapes on the grill grate. Cover and cook, turning once, until the grapes are bursting and the onions have good grill marks, about 8 to 10 minutes. Place toasted almonds into a mixing bowl; transfer the bunch of grapes to the bowl and the onions to a cutting board. Use tongs to pull the grapes from their stems and slightly crush them, adding to the bowl. Chop the onions and add to the bowl. Add vinegar and thyme, along with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper, blending well; reserve.

Grill the beef patties with the grill top closed for 4 minutes. Turn and grill to desired degree of doneness, likely about 4 additional minutes. During the last two minutes of grilling the patties place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill to toast lightly.

To assemble the burgers, spread the roll bottoms with a layer of the ranch dressing mixture, followed by a lettuce leaf, the almond/grape/onion mixture, a cooked burger and cheese shards. Add the roll tops. Yield: 6 burgers.

Comments 

I toast the almonds in a small skillet on the grill before beginning with the burgers. The grilled grapes and onions, combined with crisp toasted almonds, add an incredible flavor boost and textural element to this approachable yet elegant burger.