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Tailgate "Hoagie" Burgers with Tomato Tapenade

This recipe exemplifies two of the best things in Indianapolis in late summer – Colts football and Indiana tomatoes. My wife and I are season ticket holders for the Indianapolis Colts, and these burgers are a staple at our tailgates. They feature one of Indiana's best-kept secrets – our succulent vine-ripened tomatoes. Here we use them in a tomato relish for a burger worthy of many cheers!

Ingredients 

Tomato-Olive Tapenade Ingredients:
2 cups – ripe tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
½ cup – black Kalamata olives, halved and pits removed
½ cup – green olives with pimentos, halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon – capers, drained
1 Tablespoon – red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon – extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons – fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons – fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons – fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon – crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon – salt
½ teaspoon - black pepper

Patty Ingredients:
2 pounds – ground chuck
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup – fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
¼ cup – fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons – Sutter Home® Merlot
2 teaspoons – salt
2 teaspoons – black pepper

Additional Burger Ingredients:
2 to 3 Tablespoons – vegetable oil (for brushing on grill rack)
6 slices – provolone cheese, halved
6 slices – Muenster cheese, halved
12 slices – thinly-sliced salami
6 hoagie rolls, split
6 romaine lettuce leaves

Instructions 

In a large food processor, add all of the ingredients for the tapenade (tomatoes, Kalamata olives, green olives, garlic, capers, red wine vinegar, olive oil, basil, thyme, oregano, crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper). Pulse a few times until tapenade ingredients are diced evenly and well combined, but not purified. Place tapenade in a large bowl. Cover and let rest at room temperature for an hour. When ready to use, place tapenade in a colander to drain off excess liquid and set aside.

Preheat a gas grill to medium high heat.

To make the patties, combine the ground chuck, garlic cloves, basil leaves, oregano leaves, wine, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Handling the mixture as little as possible, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions, and form into oblong patties that fit the size of the hoagie buns.

Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and grill until browned on the bottoms, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the patties and continue grilling until done to medium, about 5 minutes. During the final few minutes of cooking, divide evenly and layer the provolone and Muenster cheeses atop the patties. Meanwhile, lay the rolls in a single layer and lightly toast the hoagie rolls on the rack – approximately 2 minutes per side.

To assemble the burgers, top a bottom half of hoagie roll with a lettuce leaf. Place a patty atop the lettuce leaf, and then layer with a slice of salami. Top salami slice with a generous amount of tapenade. Add the top of the hoagie roll. Repeat with remaining 5 burgers. Serve immediately.

Comments 

Since the burgers are oblong in shape, the longestt metal spatula you own is useful in flipping the patties on the grill.