Fennel Rubbed Beef Burgers with Smoked Paprika Mayonnaise and Grilled Tomato

Pairs well with:


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


Fennel Rub:
1/4 cup whole fennel seeds
1 T whole coriander seeds
2 tsp whole white peppercorns
3 tsp kosher salt
2 lbs freshly ground beef chuck
prepared fennel rub from above
Smoked Paprika Mayonnaise:
1 cup Mayonnaise
2 whole garlic cloves, pressed
2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Colavita olive oil for brushing grill rack
6 thick slices of large, ripe tomato, the best you can find
6 slices fontina cheese
6 ciabatta rolls
6 small handfuls arugula leaves



Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. To make the rub, combine the fennel seeds, coriander seeds and white peppercorns in a dry saute pan. Place the pan on the grill rack and toast the spices for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently and moving the pan often so the spices do not burn. You will begin to smell the aroma of the spices and see them just start to pop when they are done. This can burn easily so do not leave the grill. Remove immediately, place spices in a bowl and let cool completely, uncovered, at least 30 minutes. When thoroughly cool, transfer the spices to a coffee mill and grind coarsely. Transfer ground spices back into the bowl, add the salt and stir to combine. Set aside. To make the patties, combine the ground beef and 4 teaspoons of the prepared fennel rub in a bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form into patties to fit the rolls. Generously season the outside of the patties with more of the remaining fennel rub. Cover and set aside. To make the smoked paprika mayonnaise, combine the mayonnaise, pressed garlic cloves, paprika, lemon juice and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine thoroughly. Cover and chill. When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with olive oil. Place the tomato slices on the rack and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear. Remove and set aside. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, about 5 to 6 minutes on each side for medium. During the last few minutes of grilling, place the cheese on the patties to melt and the rolls on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly. To assemble the burgers, place a generous amount of the smoked paprika mayonnaise on the bottom and top roll halves. Place a patty on the bottom roll, top with a slice of grilled tomato and a small handful of arugula leaves. Add the top roll. Serve immediately.