Croatian Burgerswith Orange Fig and Peppadew Goat Cheese Spread, Crispy Parma Prosciutto grilled Parmesan Thyme Tomatoes

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Bright and full-bodied, this Zinfandel wine is a curious contradiction in tastes.

Croatia, brimming with the beauty of vineyards and olive trees is a haven of delicious food.Inspiration came from spending 2 weeks visiting and eating with Croatian friends in 2001. You can imagine my surprise when our host went out to the porch to fetch the large hunk of Parma ham (it was 95 degrees F.)! Home-made cheese, olives and fresh tomatoes were part of our daily delights. I have reproduced some of these favorite flavors in this burger.


Orange Fig and Peppadew Goat Cheese Spread

3 tablespoons Dalmatia Orange Fig Spread

5 ounces fresh goat cheese

4 teaspoons peppadew peppers drained and finely chopped (6)

4 teaspoons pitted Kalamata olives finely chopped (6)

1 tablespoon shallots finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped walnuts


2 pounds ground chuck

2 tablespoons Sutter Home Zinfandel

1 teaspoon ground fennel

2 tablespoons grated onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil

6 thin slices imported Italian Parma prosciutto

Grilled Parmesan Thyme Tomatoes

1 tablespoon Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced

3 large red tomatoes (native preferred)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons freshly grated imported Parmesan cheese

Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack

6 Kaiser rolls, split

6 large crisp lettuce leaves


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

To make the Orange Fig and Peppadew Goat Cheese Spread, mash fig spread and goat cheese together thoroughly with a fork in a medium bowl. Add peppadews, olives, shallots and chopped walnuts and combine well. Cover with foil and set aside.

To make the patties, combine the ground chuck, Zinfandel, fennel, onion, garlic, salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Form mixture into 6 equally sized patties to fit the rolls, cover with Reynolds Wrap foil and chill.

On heated grill heat the tablespoon of oil in a large fire-proof skillet. Cook prosciutto, turning once until crisp, about 6-7 minutes. Place on paper towels and wrap in foil. Break into pieces when cooled.

To make the Parmesan thyme tomatoes, mix the olive oil and thyme in a small custard bowl and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Slice the tomatoes in half horizontally then cut out stems. Brush the thyme olive oil all over the tomatoes. Evenly salt cut sides and place cut side down on heated grill rack and grill 7 minutes, or until they have slight grill marks and are softened. Turn and sprinkle cheese evenly over top cut sides and grill 7-8 more minutes. Remove with spatula to a plate. Loosely cover with foil.

When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 6 minutes on each side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.

To assemble the burgers, spread peppadew goat cheese on each roll bottom. On each roll bottom, place lettuce, patty, prosciutto and Parmesan tomato. Add roll tops and serve.

Serves 6