Alsace Burgers with Portobello Tapenade and Fried Onions

Pairs well with:

Cabernet Sauvignon

This rich red easily complements your homemade chicken dishes, red meats, game, and mildly seasoned pastas.


For the patties:

1 1/2 pound ground sirloin
1/2 pound ground chuck
3 tablespoons Williams and Sonoma Smokehouse Rub
1/2 cup Vidalia onion, grated
1/4 cup Sutter Home Cabarnet Sauvignon

For the Portobello Tapenade:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 pounds portobello mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons herbs du province, minced
2 tablespoons garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup Sutter Home Cabarnet Sauvignon
3 cups pitted Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons small capers, drained
5 anchovy fillets, packed in oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh squeezed

For the Fried Onions:

3 cups canola oil
2 Vidalia onions, sliced into very thin half-moons
2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white cornmeal
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

For the Dressed Bibb Lettuce Salad:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 head of Bibb lettuce, shredded

Olive oil/Canola Oil for brushing the racks
6 slices of Gruyere cheese, thick
6 honey wheat buns, split


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat gas grill to medium-high.

To make the patties, mix the ingredients together in a large bowl, taking care not to overwork the meat. Form into six equally sized patties and put an indention in the middle with your thumb to ensure even cooking. Cover and place in a cooler until needed.

To make the tapenade, warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the mushrooms, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper and cook, tossing and stirring often, until the mushrooms begin to render their juices, which takes about 5 minutes. After you stir in the wine, reduce the heat to a simmer for 7 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated. Remove the mixture from the heat and cool to room temperature. Pulse the mushroom mixture, olives, capers, anchovies and lemon juice in a food processor until finely chopped. While the motor is running constantly, drizzle in the remaining olive oil until the consistancy is like a chunky paste.

To make the onions, pour the oil into a large, deep, heavy fire-proof saucepan to a depth of 2 inches. Heat on the grill until the temperature reaches 360 degree. Soak your thinly sliced onions in the buttermilk while you make the flour mixture, or while creating the tapenade. On a shallow platter, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, and pepper and mix well. Take a handful of onions, shaking off any excess milk, and dredge in the breading mixture. Shake off the excess flour and fry in the hot oil until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.

To make the salad, combine the balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a cocktail shaker. Pour in the olive oil and shake until combined. Place the dressing in the bottom of a large bowl and then add the shredded Bibb lettuce on the top. Toss to coat.

Brush the grill rack with canola oil. Place the burger patties on the rack, cover, and cook for 4-7 minutes on each side for a medium doneness. After the second turn, place the gruyere slices on top of the burgers and allow to melt. Brush your buns with a little additional olive-canola blend and place on the outsides of the grill. Toast until golden brown.

To assemble the burgers, place a cheese-topped patty on each bun bottom. Layer a generous handfull of the lettuce salad on top, followed by a generous dollop of fried onions. Spread the tapenade on the top bun, place on top of the burger, and enjoy!