RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Two Pesto Spiral Panini Burgers

Inspiration for this year's contest has come from the everyone's new favorite sandwich, the panini. Crossing this new style of cooking with America's all time favorite, the hamburger has turned out to be one of my favorite recipes. The blend of flavors and textures is a delicious twist on both. I hope you love it as much as I do.

Ingredients 

2 pounds ground sirloin
4 slices proscuitto ham, very finely chopped by hand or in a mini food processor
1/4 cup Zinfandel
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs, divided
1/2 cup shredded Italian blend cheese (Parmesan, Asiago and Romano)
3 large shallots, very finely diced
1/2 cup basil pesto
Vegetable oil for the grill
6 slices Fontina Cheese
3 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
12 one-inch thick slices Italian bread
1 large ripe avocado, peeled, seeded and mashed
6 large tomato slices, ¼” thick
3 ounces Arugula leaves
4 tablespoons sun dried tomato pesto

Instructions 

In a large bowl, combine the ground sirloin, proscuitto, Zinfandel, garlic salt, ¼ cup of the breadcrumbs, Italian blend cheese, and shallots. Mix well being careful not to overwork the meat. Transfer the meat to a large piece of waxed paper that is at least 18” long. Shape meat into a 14 x 8-inch rectangle on top of the waxed paper; set aside. In a small bowl combine the remaining ¼ cup of the breadcrumbs and the basil pesto. With the back of a tablespoon or a pallet knife, spread the basil mixture evenly over the top of the meat, leaving a 1/2-inch border on each end. Press mixture gently into the meat as you spread. Starting at a short end, roll up meat jellyroll fashion, lifting waxed paper to help in rolling. Press edges and ends together to seal. Cover and chill 1 hour. Approximately 5 to 10 minutes before cooking, preheat grill to medium high. Wipe grill down with vegetable oil to prevent sticking. Cut roll into 6 slices. Place each slice on the preheated grill. Cook meat for approximately 6 minutes on each side. Two minutes before cooking time is over, top each burger with a slice of the Fontina cheese and close lid for quicker melting. Remove patties from the grill, cover loosely with foil and set aside. Working quickly, butter each slice of bread on one side. On one of the unbuttered sides of each side of the bread, spread equal amounts of the mashed avocado. Top with a tomato slice, equal amounts of the arugula leaves and finally the hamburger patty. With the remaining slice of bread, spread each unbuttered side with equal amounts of the sun dried tomato pesto, then place on top with buttered side out. Quickly clean the grill with a grill brush and wipe down once again with the vegetable oil. Place each assembled burger, with the buttered sides on the outside, on the hot grill. Place a heavy object, such as a foil wrapped clay brick, on the top of each burger. Grill until bread is brown and crispy, approximately 1 – 2 minutes. Remove the bricks from the burgers and turn carefully with a spatula. Replace the brick back on the burgers and toast the other side until brown.

Comments 

I found that the best way to weigh down these burgers to achieve the panini press effect is to use plain old foil wrapped clay bricks from the lumber yard. I love to see the look on my neighbor's faces when they see me grilling in the backyard with my bricks. Priceless!