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Smoked Mozzarella & Crispy Prosciutto Burgers with Mellow Garlic Mayo and Grilled Asparagus, Spinach and Basil Relish

Hi, my name is Angelica Howland and I am a Food TV Junkie.

The inspiration for this burger comes from my favorite pasta dish by Giada de Laurentiis. What a wonderful surprise it was to discover that those wonderful flavors went so well with beef. It pairs nicely with a Sutter Home Zinfandel. Can't wait to try it with the White Merlot.

Ingredients 

Mellow Garlic Mayo
(Makes about 1 ¼ cup)
6 cloves fresh garlic, smashed and peeled
1 TBS unsalted butter
1/2 TBS extra light olive oil
1 large egg – room temp
1 tsp good Dijon Mustard
2 TBS fresh lemon juice (juice of half a lemon)
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 ¼ cup extra light olive oil
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Grilled Asparagus, Spinach & Basil Relish
(Makes 1 ½ cups)
½ lb green asparagus, heads and ½ of the stalks
Extra light olive oil for brushing asparagus
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
8 oz jar Pickled (or marinated) White Asparagus*, chopped
2 cups baby spinach, stems removed, chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, chopped
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
* Can be found in the condiment or canned vegetable isle of well stocked grocery stores

Crispy Prosciutto
6 slices of Prosciutto (Ask your deli guy to slice it just a little thicker than the usually requested paper thin. Also – if Prosciutto di Parma is available – get it – it’s worth it.)

Patties and Buns
2 1 lb loaves Asiago Cheese Bread
2 lbs boneless Chuck Roast, cut into 1 inch pieces or 2 lbs Ground Chuck
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tsp Kosher Salt
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
6 thick slices Smoked Mozzarella (I like Apple Wood smoked)
½ cup extra light olive oil for brushing the grill
1 TBS unsalted butter, melted (for brushing the buns)
1 TBS extra light olive oil (for brushing the buns)

Instructions 

Preheat a gas grill to medium heat.

To Make Mayo:
Heat a medium cast iron skillet on grill. Heat butter and oil until butter is melted and bubbling. Add garlic and sauté over medium heat until golden – 2 to 3 minutes. Remove garlic and set aside. Set aside pan and oil for the Grilled Asparagus, Spinach & Basil Relish.
Put egg, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper into a food processor or blender. Blend for 30 seconds. With the machine on, slowly add the oil in a steady stream. Mixture will thicken and become pale yellow. Add mellowed garlic, pulse to blend. Check for seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste and pulse again. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

To Make Relish:
Reheat oil from mellowed garlic over medium heat on the grill. Brush green asparagus with a little light olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and grill over medium heat until bright green, 5 to 7 minutes. Chop grilled asparagus and add to cast iron skillet, add pickled white asparagus and spinach. Sauté until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Add basil and sauté 1 minute. Check for seasoning, add salt and pepper if needed, toss and set aside to cool.

Set grill to medium high heat.

To Make Crispy Prosciutto:
Wipe out the medium cast iron skillet with a paper towel. Lay 2 pieces of prosciutto in the pan. Set pan on grill and fry ham until crispy, turning frequently, about 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Repeat with remaining 4 pieces of prosciutto.

To Trim Bread for Buns:
Cut off the heels of both loaves and save for another use. Cut each loaf into 3 sections. Trim cut side of bread to ½ inch thick (save trimmings for croutons or breadcrumbs), set aside for grilling later.

To Make Patties:
If using a boneless Chuck Roast: Working in ½ pound batches, pulse chuck roast pieces in food processor until just ground and transfer meat to a large bowl. Add fresh garlic, basil and salt, lightly knead until just combined. Divide ground beef into 1/3 pound, 1 ½ inch patties. Put patties on a platter and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Brush grill rack with oil and grill meat to desired doneness (I like mine medium – 6 to 8 minutes each side). Top patties with cheese in the last minute of grilling and cover grill.

Set grill to medium heat.

Transfer patties to platter and tent meat with tinfoil so they can rest and the cheese can finish melting, about 10 minutes. Combine melted butter and oil in a small bowl with a whisk and brush the cut side of the buns with the combination. Grill all 12 pieces until cut side is golden 2 to 3 minutes. Do not leave unattended.

To Build Your Burger:
Spread 1/2 TBS of Mellow Garlic Mayo on top bun; add 1 TBS of Grilled Asparagus, Spinach & Basil Relish, press to adhere relish to the mayo. Spread a thin layer of the mayo on the bottom bun. Put Smoked Mozzarella Burger on bottom bun, then top with the Crispy Prosciutto. Carefully squish (how do you like that for a culinary term?) the top and bottom buns together and serve.

Comments 

My family friends and I had some rowdy, fun evenings while I turned them into food critics as I worked out the recipe for this burger. What a great way to bring food and fun together in my kitchen -- my absolute favorite way to play with fire.

Thanks for the challenge!