BIG EASY CAPANATA BURGERS
-¾ -cup olive oil,
½ cup for the Capanata,
¼ cup for the bread slices.
-4- cloves of garlic, crushed with the blade of a knife, two cloves for the Capanata, two cloves for the burgers.
-4- cups of eggplant peeled and chopped into ½” sized pieces.
-2 cups of olive salad drained and chopped (Available in either the ethnic section of large grocery stores or in the deli section in an olive bar.)
-12 oz. jar of fried peppers and onions, drained and chopped into ½ inch sized pieces (These peppers are -available in jars in the Italian or ethnic section of grocery stores.
-8 oz. of tomato paste
-½ cup of Sutter Home Merlot wine
-2 Tablespoon of sugar
-1½ tsp. Italian seasoning,
½ tsp. for the Capanata,
1 tsp. for the bread slices
-1½ lb. of ground chuck
-¾ lb. of ground sirloin
-½ cup of fresh Italian Bread crumbs
-2 tsp. of salt -2 Tablespoons fresh basil, minced in a small food processor
-Vegetable oil for brushing on the grill rack
-12 slices of Italian Boule bread, cut –¾ ” thick this is usually a light sourdough bread (about 1 ½ round loaves)
-6 thick cut slices of sharp provolone cheese
Prepare a medium-hot fire over either a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high temperature. First, make the Capanata mixture. Place ½ cup of olive oil into a 10”, heavy weight, fireproofed skillet and reserve the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil for later use. Sauté all of the crushed cloves of garlic in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes and remove them from the pan. (Lightly sautéing the crushed garlic cloves will both flavor the oil and lightly cook the garlic for use later in the recipe). Gently place the peeled, chopped eggplant into the skillet with the garlic-flavored olive oil and sauté on the grill rack for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until tender. Covering the skillet as needed to speed the cooking process. Meanwhile, finely mince the sautéed garlic cloves and set aside. Once the eggplant is softened, remove the pan from the grill. Add the drained and chopped olive salad, drained and chopped jar of peppers and onions, tomato paste, Sutter Home Merlot wine, sugar, ½ teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning and two cloves of the minced, sautéed garlic to the eggplant. Reserve the remaining Italian Seasoning and garlic for later use. Place skillet back on the grill and simmer while frequently stirring mixture for another 25-30 minutes, until all the vegetables are softened and flavors have married. Remove from grill, transfer Capanata to a shallow dish, cover and refrigerate to cool for 20-30 minutes. (Note: Capanata may even be made a day ahead if you wish.) When the Capanata is nearly cooled, begin making the patties by combining ground chuck, ground sirloin, breadcrumbs, salt, minced basil and remaining minced garlic in a large bowl. Handle the meat as little as possible; yet mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and flatten into 6 disks. Place a scant ¼ cup of Capanata mixture in the center of each disk (reserve the remaining Capanata and reheat in the heavy fireproof skillet on an upper rack of the grill). Finally, to form the burgers, bring up the edges of the meat to enclose the Capanata mixture in the middle. Form into six thick patties and refrigerate patties for 20-30 minutes before grilling. When ready to cook the burgers, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning only once, until done to preference, approximately 6 minutes on each side for medium. Meanwhile, lightly brush the bread slices with the remaining olive oil and lightly sprinkle the reserved Italian seasoning over both sides of the bread. Grill both sides of the bread toward the edges of the grill rack until lightly toasted, about 2-3 minutes. When the patties are almost done, add the provolone slice to the top of each patty. Cover the grill and continue cooking a moment longer until the cheese is nicely melted. To assemble the burgers: Place the patty with melted provolone on a grilled slice of bread; top with some of the remaining Capanta and top with another toasted slice of bread. Slice in half on a diagonal and serve immediately. Makes 6 burgers.