When winter subsides and spring starts to emerge, its time to liven things up outdoors. My Italian American Burger Recipe is inspired by my family of the same descent, combining Italian flavors on the American grill.
This burger is packed with flavor, texture and combines a meatball burger patty doused with sweet caramelized balsamic onions, grilled roasted red peppers and tangy blue cheese on a toasted bun. I made this burger for an online cooking competition and won first prize for the 4th July in 2012. It was all about the red, white and blue - Italian-style!
A mouthwatering burger, fit for any cook-out. Enjoy!
Please read my Chefs Notes & Tips at the end of this recipe for other information.
2 large red bell peppers
3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
3 medium red onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 tsp. kosher salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. granulated sugar
24 oz. ground chuck
2 cups Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
2 tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 tbsp. dried basil
2 large eggs, beaten
3 cloves of sliced garlic
1/2 cup diced yellow onions
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 blue cheese slices (Roquefort, or Gorgonzola crumbles)
4 white rolls (French, Ciabatta, Portuguese)
Toppings:- Lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, mustard, mayo, ketchup - to build your burger.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. (if using the oven method)
1. Make the peppers:- Rub a little oil over the peppers and place on the grill cooking until nicely blistered and charred on all sides. Alternatively, roast the peppers on a cookie sheet or shallow pan in the oven until blistered and charred, approximately 30-40 minutes.
2. Remove from the oven and place the peppers in either a double brown paper bag or a container with a lid for 10 minutes. Peel or rub the skins the peppers and remove the seed pods. Do not rinse. Slice the peppers into long strips and set aside.
3. Make the onions :- Heat a little olive oil in a skillet over a medium high heat until it shimmers, then add the onions. Cook for 2 minutes and add the kosher salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally and add the balsamic vinegar and sugar. Cook, stirring often for approximately 5 more minutes until nicely caramelized and soft. Set aside.
4. The Burger Patties Outdoor grill method:- Heat the grill on the medium high setting if using gas, or get those charcoal bricks nice and white hot! Combine all the patty ingredients - the chuck meat, parmesan or Romano cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic, onions salt and pepper well. Roll the mixture into 4 six ounce meatballs. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
5. Flatten out the meatballs into patties, I use a saucer or small plate and brush with olive oil on both sides. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes on each side for a medium burger remembering only to flip once, do not be tempted to flatten the burgers with your spatula, you will only press out the juices and your burger will be tough. Don't mess with it too much.
One minute before the burgers are finished, add the red peppers and blue cheese and close the lid on the grill to melt the cheese - 1 minute. Or, you can remove the patties from the grill and then add the peppers and cheese and cover with foil to melt.
Build Your Burger
On the bottom on your toasted bun, with whatever condiments you would like - mayo, mustard etc., then place the lettuce, onions and burger patty on top.
Serve with mixed baby greens and grilled corn on the cob, which has been rubbed with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Chef's Notes & Tips
The red bell peppers and onions can be done a day ahead to save you time.
Make extra roasted peppers when you get the chance. These are great stored in glass jar with sliced raw garlic cloves and covered with olive oil. They will be great refrigerated for 2-3 weeks and all ready for your burgers or sandwiches.
When you are done with the peppers, the remaining garlic oil will be great for stir-frying and adding to other dishes. However, when you refrigerate olive oil it will solidify, so you will need to bring it to room temperature.