RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Port Austin Farmer's Market Burger (a.k.a. Bacon Goat Cheese Burger with Roasted Red Cherry Pepper and Fried Sage Leaf

This burger was inspired by ingredients purchased at a farmer's market in one of my favorite summer towns; Port Austin, Michigan in the "Thumb" of Michigan. However, all of the ingredients can likely be found year-round in grocery stores as well.

Ingredients 

12 medium to large sweet/hot red cherry peppers, tops, seeds and ribs removed
8 ounces goat cheese
36 large sage leaves
toothpicks
2 tablespoons Colavita brand extra virgin olive oil
12 slices thick cut bacon, slices cut in half
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 cup Japanese panko bread crumbs, or regular bread crumbs
1/3 cup Sutter Home Chardonnay

Patties:
2 pounds ground chuck
3/4 cup grated onion
3 large garlic cloves minced or pressed
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Buns and toppings:
vegetable oil for brushing grill
2 tablespoons Colavita Brand extra virgin olive oil
2 loaves sourdough bread, long baguette style, sliced lengthwise, discard ends and cut center into 6 bun sized sections, or 6 good quality sourdough buns or rolls, split
2 cups pre-washed bagged spring mix salad greens
6 (1/4 inch thick) tomato slices, preferably heirloom variety

Instructions 

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium high.

To prepare the peppers: Stuff cavity with goat cheese, place 1 sage leaf across the top and secure with a toothpick. Reserve remaining sage leaves and set aside. Brush peppers with olive oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside.

To prepare bacon and sage leaves: Heat a large, heavy fireproof skillet on the heated grill. Add the bacon and cook until crisp-tender. While the bacon is cooking, prepare the reserved sage leaves. Whisk together the egg, milk salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place panko breadcrumbs in a separate, shallow dish. Dip reserved sage leaves in milk and egg mixture and then coat with bread crumbs. Place on a dry plate.

When bacon is cooked to crisp, transfer to a paper towel lined plate and drain. Quickly add prepared sage leaves to the hot bacon grease. Cook, turning once, until golden on each side. Transfer to paper towel lined plated and drain. Remove skillet from heat and set aside. Wrap bacon and sage leaves in separate foil to keep warm and set aside.

To prepare the patties: Drain all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease from the skillet, reserving brown bits and bread crumbs, and return to heat. De-glaze with Chardonnay. Stir until reduced to a rich paste, about 1 - 2 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl; add the ground chuck, onion, garlic cloves, and salt. Mix together, handling as little as possible. Shape into six patties to fit the bun size.

Check grill for proper heat and brush the rack with vegetable oil. Brush oil on the bread or buns and set aside. Place the patties on the grill rack (leave a space near the edge for peppers) and cover, cook, turning once until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. Place peppers on the reserved space on the grill after turning the burgers once. Cook 5 – 7 minutes until slightly charred and soft. During the last 2 minutes of grilling, place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill to lightly toast.

To assemble the burgers, on each bread or roll bottom, place an equal portion of the spring mix, then two grilled peppers with toothpicks removed, followed by a patty, a tomato slice, 2 half slices of bacon, 3 – 4 fried sage leaves. Top with bun half and serve. Makes 6 burgers.

Comments 

As indicated above, this burger recipe was inspired by a trip to the Port Austin, Michigan farmer's market. The red peppers were purchased there, simply for their beauty, not with any recipe in mind. When we invited friends over for burgers later that evening, they seemed to fit with other items in the refrigerator. Hence the burger was created and met with rave reviews from friends. We have found that red bell peppers can be substituted as well with the same preparation, except cut into quarters and spread with goat cheese, versus "stuffed".