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Proscuitto Wrapped Pecorino Toscano Burgers with Fire Roasted Garlic and Sun-dried Tomato Relish

Eating a great cheese, like drinking a fine wine with a tasty burger, is one of life’s simple pleasures. One of my favorite cheeses is Pecorino Toscano. Made in Tuscany, Pecorino Toscano, is a distinctively mild, nutty tasting sheep’s milk cheese. It is my favorite cheese to eat alone or to use as an ingredient. Although a little saltier, Pecorino Romano makes a good substitute. The mild flavor of the Pecorino is the highlight of these Tuscan inspired burgers where the cheese is diced and mixed right into the patties. The patties are topped with creamy fresh mozzarella cheese and crowned with a flavorful sun-dried tomato relish. I like my burger buns to have a slight bite to them, so I chose a Ciabatta roll since they are firm enough to hold in all the juicy goodness of these burgers. The burgers, just like the Pecorino Toscano cheese alone, pair beautifully with a Cabernet Sauvignon-my favorite wine to drink.

Ingredients 

1 clove garlic, unpeeled
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 (7 ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained
1 (7 ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
2 pounds freshly ground beef chuck
8 ounces Pecorino Toscano cheese, cut into small dice
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 thin slices Proscuitto di Parma
Vegetable oil to brush the grill
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 6 equal thickness slices
6 Ciabatta rolls, split
1 cup mixted baby salad greens

Instructions 

Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat.

Place the garlic clove on a 6 inch x 6 inch sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle the clove with 1 tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Seal loosely in the foil and place on the grill rack. Roast for 20-30 minutes, turning occasionally or until tender when gently squeezed. Set aside.

To prepare the Sun-dried Tomato Relish, finely chop the sun-dried tomatoes and the roasted red peppers. In medium sized bowl, stir together the sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, capers, basil and 1/4 cup of Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

To prepare the patties, break apart the ground beef chuck into a large bowl and squeeze in the roasted garlic (discard the skin). Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, the diced Pecorino Toscano cheese and the red pepper flakes; using your hands, gently combine being careful to not overwork the meat. Form the meat into 6 equal sized patties shaped to fit the rolls. Wrap each patty with a slice of the proscuitto, covering the top and bottom of each patty, pressing gently to seal.

When the grill is ready, lightly brush the grill rack with the vegetable oil. Arrange the patties on the grill rack, close the cover and cook for 5 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully flip the patties, arrange 1 slice of the mozzarella cheese on each and cook, with the grill closed, for an additional 4-5 minutes for medium or continue cooking until desired doneness. During the last two minutes of grilling, arrange the Ciabatta rolls, split side down on the outside edges of the grill and lightly toast.

To assemble the burgers, evenly divide the greens onto the bottom half of each of the rolls, top the greens with a patty, cheese side up. Spoon the sun-dried tomato relish over each, evenly dividing and top with the remaining roll halves.

Makes 6 burgers.

Comments 

Two tips for preparing this quick burger: when placing patties on the grill place the seam on the wrapped proscuitto down first, this will help to keep the proscuitto from slipping off. If Ciabatta rolls are not available, either Focaccia Rolls or a firm kaiser roll will make a good substitute.