Angus Beef Burgers with Walnut-Peppadew Pesto, Maple-Mustard Bacon & Lemon-Apple-Arugula
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons granulated maple sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
12 slices applewood-smoked bacon
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (I prefer Lea & Perrins brand)
2 tablespoons Sutter Home Zinfandel wine
4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper (I prefer McCormick brand)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
2 1/2 pounds ground Angus chuck, 80/20
2 cups trimmed peppadew peppers (drained if in brine)
1/2 cup toasted roughly chopped walnuts
4 teaspoons chopped fresh garlic
4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup walnut oil
2/3 cup finely shredded Asiago cheese (1 oz. wt.)
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon olive oil (I prefer Colavita Liminolio)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 cup cored, julienned fresh Granny Smith apple
6 thin slices fresh red onion, quartered
3 cups fresh pre-washed, bagged baby arugula/baby spinach blend (2 cups baby arugula to 1 cup baby spinach)
Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack
6 Kaiser rolls, split (rolls with a slightly chewy crust and a tender interior)
• Prepare a medium indirect heat fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to indirect medium heat. (Internal grill temperature should be between 350° and 375ºF.)
• To prepare the bacon, in a small bowl, mix together mustard, maple sugar and cumin. When the grill is ready, lay bacon strips side-by-side on a sheet pan lined with foil and place pan on grill rack. Close cover and cook bacon for 16 to 20 minutes, rotating pan and draining as necessary, until bacon is slightly crisp. Using a small spoon, drizzle slices with half of the mustard sauce and cook, covered, for 3 to 5 minutes. Drizzle with remaining mustard sauce, close cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes longer or until bacon is crisp and the sauce is caramelized. Cool slightly, cut slices in half crosswise and set aside.
• Meanwhile, to make the patties, in a small bowl, mix together Worcestershire sauce, wine, thyme, garlic, pepper and salt. Spread the chuck out in a large shallow pan and, using a fork, evenly mix sauce mixture into meat. Shape the mixture into 6 equal patties to fit the rolls. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to grill.
• To make the pesto, add peppers, nuts, garlic and thyme to the bowl of a food processor. “Pulse” in the walnut oil until peppers and walnuts are coarsely chopped, about 6 to 8 pulses. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl, stir in Asiago, pepper and salt and set aside.
• To make the slaw, whisk together vinegar, oil, mustard and pepper in a large bowl. Evenly mix in apple, onion and arugula/spinach blend, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
• Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
• To cook the patties, when the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill rack, cover and cook, turning once, until cooked to preference, 5 to 7 minutes per side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, add 4 bacon slice halves to each burger and place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.
• To assemble the burgers, on each roll bottom place an equal portion of the peppadew pesto followed by a bacon-topped patty and an equal portion of apple-arugula mixture. Add the roll tops and serve.
Makes 6 burgers.