Black-Truffle-on-a-Budget Burgers Glazed with Merlot & Balsamic Honey, Topped with Roasted Fennel/Thyme/Vidalia Relish, Accented by a Peppercorn-Parmesan/Scallion Spread

Pairs well with:


Get cozy and get pouring. Our Merlot is the wine for long weekends and lengthy chats.


Merlot & Balsamic Honey Glaze:
½ cup Sutter Home Merlot
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic
1Tablespoon honey

Roasted Fennel/Thyme/Vidalia Relish:
1 fennel bulb, with core removed, sliced
1 Vidalia or sweet onion, sliced
1 large sprig fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon plus ½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
¼ cup Gruyere cheese, grated
½ teaspoon white pepper

Mushroom Mix-Ins for Patties:
6-8 small Portobello mushrooms (to be grilled, needs to yield 1 cup chopped)
1 teaspoon black truffle salt
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon A.1. Steak Sauce Supreme Garlic sauce
1 Tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon black truffle salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup Panko breadcrumbs
1½ pounds ground chuck (80/20)
1 cup prepared mushroom mix-ins (from above)

Peppercorn-Parmesan/Scallion Spread:
1 cup Peppercorn-Parmesan flavored spreadable cheese, room temperature
¼ cup scallions (white and green parts), sliced
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

6 fresh croissants (try to choose more-rounded ones), split
2 Tablespoons unsalted black truffle butter, melted
1 teaspoon black truffle salt

Additional Items:
Aluminum disposable pan with small holes poked in the bottom (for roasting fennel & onion, as well as easy clean up). It is easiest and safest to set pan over cold grill and stick with sharp knife. Turn knife slightly to make holes.

7″ square non-stick cake pan (makes it easier for burger portion control)

Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack



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

To make the glaze, mix together Merlot, balsamic vinegar and garlic clove in a small grill-safe pot. Boil on grill until reduced by half. After reduced, remove garlic clove and stir in honey. Keep warm (over indirect heat).

To make the relish, place fennel, onion, thyme sprig, 1T olive oil, 1t salt and black pepper in bowl and toss to coat. Place fennel mixture into aluminum disposable pan and roast fennel and onion, stirring often, until soft and slightly browned, approximately 20-25 minutes. While fennel and onions are roasting, start mushrooms (see paragraph below). When fennel and onion are ready, remove from grill and let cool until able to handle. Remove thyme sprig. Chop fennel and onion into small pieces and place in grill-safe pot. Add remaining 1t olive oil, fresh chopped thyme, gruyere, remaining ½ t salt and white pepper and stir to combine. Cover and set aside.

To make the mix-ins for patties, brush grill grate with oil then grill mushrooms on both sides until browned and tender then place in bowl. Toss mushrooms with black truffle salt and olive oil then cover loosely until cooled slightly and able to handle. Chop mushrooms into small squares (approx.1/8″-1/4″ pieces), toss back into bowl with truffle salt and oil and stir. Cover and reserve for patty mixture.

To make the patties, whisk together A.1., milk, truffle salt, pepper in small bowl. Add breadcrumbs and stir until moistened. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add breadcrumb mixture to beef in large bowl. Add reserved chopped mushrooms to beef mixture. Thoroughly mix.

Place beef and mushroom mixture into 7″ square cake pan (this makes it easier to divide into 6 equal portions). Press mixture evenly in pan. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15-20 minutes or until ready to grill.

To make the spread (while patty mixture is being refrigerated), combine cheese, scallions and parsley. Cover and set aside.

Retrieve patty mixture from refrigeration. Make 6 square portions by cutting down the middle of the pan first then divide each half into 3 squares. Remove and then form each equal-sized square into a round burger, working quickly.

When the patties are ready to be grilled, brush the grill with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover and cook until done to preference, 4-5 minutes on each side. After the first flip, brush burgers with glaze. After second 4-5 minutes, flip again and brush other side with glaze and continue to heat approximately 30 seconds. While burgers are cooking, melt truffle butter in small grill-safe pot and mix with truffle salt (for croissant preparation). Remove burgers, cover loosely until ready to assemble.

To prepare the croissants, brush cut side of croissants with truffle butter mixture. Grill buttered side until toasted. While bread is toasting, place pot of relish on grill (for cheese to melt slightly) and stir.

To assemble the burgers, coat toasted croissant bottom with peppercorn-parmesan spread. Place burger onto spread. Cover burger with relish then remaining croissant top and serve.

Makes 6 servings.