RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Pistachio Crusted Brie & Beef Burgers With Date Aioli & Peppered Bacon

I combined some of my favorite ingredients to build a better burger.

Ingredients 

For Toasted Pistachio Crunch:

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons all-natural pure olive oil (recommended: Colavita)

1/3 full cup roasted, no shell, salted California pistachios, (not dyed red) chopped

1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic, or 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled, minced

1 tablespoon (refrigerated in a tube) finely chopped fresh ginger, or fresh ginger root

1/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

1 ½ teaspoons fresh, minced basil leaves

1 ½ teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon sea (or kosher) salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel

For Date Aioli:

12 fresh dates, halved lengthwise, pitted, coarsely chopped (recommended: Medjool dates)

Pinch of medium-grind black pepper

6 tablespoons all-natural pure olive oil (recommended: Colavita)

For Peppered Bacon:

12 slices smoked bacon, preferably cured with brown sugar

1 tablespoon medium-grind black pepper *

For Patties:

2 1/4 pounds freshly ground beef chuck, 20% fat (recommended: Kobe/Wagyu beef)

½ cup grated or minced shallots

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons sea salt, divided

2 teaspoons medium-grind black pepper, divided

Additional Ingredients:

12 ounces chilled Brie cheese, rind removed, thinly sliced**

2-3 tablespoons canola oil for brushing on the grill rack (recommended: Colavita)

6 tablespoons all-natural pure olive oil for brushing on the bread slices (recommended: Colavita)

12 slices (approximately ½ -inch-thick) French sourdough bread, if desired, cut on a diagonal

2 cloves garlic, peeled, halved on a diagonal

3 cups pre-washed bagged baby arugula, if desired, roughly torn

Instructions 

Preheat a gas grill to medium-low heat.

For toasted pistachio crunch, heat oil in a large, deep, fire-proof nonstick skillet on the grill grate. Add pistachios, garlic and ginger; cook, stirring frequently, until pale golden, about 4- 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine panko, basil, soy sauce, salt and pepper in a small bowl. When pistachio mixture reaches pale golden, increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the bread crumbs are golden, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in grated orange peel; transfer (spreading evenly) to a medium, shallow baking dish to cool. Wipe out skillet with paper towels; set aside.

Prepare the date aioli. Using a large mortar and pestle, slightly crush the dates; sprinkle with a pinch of pepper, and slowly add the olive oil. Cover, and set aside.

Sprinkle uncooked bacon slices evenly on each side with 1/8 teaspoon of medium-grind black pepper. Cook bacon in skillet used for the pistachio crunch on grill grate until crisp, 7-10 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Wrap in foil to keep warm; discard bacon fat. Turn heat up to moderate-high.

To make the patties, spread ground chuck into a large shallow baking dish; sprinkle evenly with shallots, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the bread. Sprinkle both sides of the patties evenly with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.

Place cheese slices, in one layer, on a large rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle tops of the cheese slices with the pistachio crunch, gently pressing into the cheese for crunch to adhere. Cover with plastic wrap; set aside.

When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with canola oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 4 to 6 minutes each side for medium, depending on thickness of the patties. While burgers cook, lightly brush about 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil over each side of bread slices; set aside.

During the last 3 minutes of cooking burgers, divide pistachio crusted cheese slices, pistachio side up and mounding as needed, evenly over the burgers. Cover, and finish cooking patties. Transfer burgers (cheese side up) to a large platter; lightly tent with foil.

Prepare the date aioli. Using a large mortar and pestle, slightly crush the dates; sprinkle with a pinch of pepper, and slowly add the olive oil. Cover, and set aside.

Sprinkle uncooked bacon slices evenly on each side with 1/8 teaspoon of medium-grind black pepper. Cook bacon in skillet used for the pistachio crunch on grill grate until crisp, 7-10 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Wrap in foil to keep warm; discard bacon fat. Turn heat up to moderate-high.

To make the patties, spread ground chuck into a large shallow baking dish; sprinkle evenly with shallots, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the bread. Sprinkle both sides of the patties evenly with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.

Place cheese slices, in one layer, on a large rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle tops of the cheese slices with the pistachio crunch, gently pressing into the cheese for crunch to adhere. Cover with plastic wrap; set aside.

When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with canola oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 4 to 6 minutes each side for medium, depending on thickness of the patties. While burgers cook, lightly brush about 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil over each side of bread slices; set aside.

During the last 3 minutes of cooking burgers, divide pistachio crusted cheese slices, pistachio side up and mounding as needed, evenly over the burgers. Cover, and finish cooking patties. Transfer burgers (cheese side up) to a large platter; lightly tent with foil.

Place foil packet of bacon on grill rack to warm. Immediately arrange slices of bread on the outer edges of the grill rack; cover, and lightly toast, about 1 minute per side. Rub both sides of each toast with garlic.

To serve, spread equal portions of the date aioli on each of 6 bottom toasts. Layer each with ½ cup arugula, burger, 2 slices of bacon and top toasts. If desired, halve each on a diagonal and serve.

Yield: 6 Servings

Comments 

Notes: * More than one tablespoon black pepper, as desired, can be used to prepare the bacon.
** To easily cut the Brie, remove the chilled Brie from its packaging; place it on a cutting board; remove rind. Center a non-serrated, large sharp kitchen knife on top of the Brie. Hold the handle firmly in your hand. Place your other hand on top of the blade, cutting side down, to guide the movement of the knife. Press firmly to cut the slices of Brie to desired shape. Cover, and set aside at room temperature.