A Little Wine with That Cheeseburger? a.k.a. Toasted Pecan, Asiago, Bacon and Avocado Cheeseburgers with New England Salsa and Wilted Baby Greens
2 ounces small pecan pieces
1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
2 pounds 80/20 ground beef
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
2 large Golden Delicious apples, cut in half across, stemmed and cored, cut into fine julienne slices
1/3 small red onion, cut into quarters then thinly sliced into rings
2 large Serrano peppers, seeds and membranes removed, cut into julienne slices
1/4 cup Sutter Home Chardonnay
6 slices Asiago cheese
12 slices precooked bacon
6 sesame hamburger buns
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 large ripe avocado
3 cups baby greens, washed and dried thoroughly
Preheat an outdoor gas grill to medium high.
Place a small heat proof or cast iron pan directly over heat. Place pecan pieces in hot pan and dry toast, stirring frequently until they turn a golden brown. Transfer nuts to a plate to cool. Add fennel seeds to the hot pan and toast for a minute or two, stirring frequently until their aroma is released and they are slightly toasted. Transfer to the plate with the nuts to cool.
In a large bowl, combine toasted pecan pieces, fennel, ground beef, salt, black pepper, and garlic, being careful not to overwork the meat. Divide into 6 equal pieces and form into patties that are the same size as the buns.
Place patties on the grill and cook for approximately 5 â€“ 7 minutes on each side for a medium to medium well burger. Place 1 slice of cheese and 2 slices of bacon on each of the burgers in the last 2 â€“ 3 minutes of cooking time to melt the cheese and heat the bacon. Remove the patties from the heat and transfer to a serving platter. Loosely tent with foil, being sure foil does not touch cheese and allow to rest for a minute or two until ready to assemble.
While the burgers are cooking combine the julienne apples, onion, Serrano pepper, and the Sutter Home Chardonnay. Toss to coat the apple mixture with the wine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Spread the inside of hamburger buns with equal amounts of the softened butter. Toast buns over the heat to a golden brown. While buns are toasting, peel and seed avocado and mash well. Spread equal amounts of the mashed avocado on the inside of the top half of the toasted buns.
Quickly combine the mayonnaise and Dijon mustard and spread on the bottom half of the toasted buns. Place equal amounts of the baby greens on the bottom half of the bun. Place hot burger patty on top of the greens followed by equal amounts of the salsa and, finally, the avocado coated top bun. Cut in half if desired and serve immediately.