Fresh Mozzarella Cheeseburgers with Basil-Infused Olive Oil on Garlic French Bread


Note: ingredients used more than once in the recipe are denoted with a * to avoid double-counting the number of ingredients.

Garlic French Bread
1) 1 1/2 loaves of freshly baked french bread (not flat baguette style)
2) 1 stick of softened butter
3) 1/2 cup Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4) 2 teaspoons coarse-ground garlic salt with parsley

Aluminum foil for wrapping bread

Basil-Infused Olive Oil with Tomato Relish
5) 1 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and stems removed
* 7 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6) 7 teaspoons Colavita Balsamic Vinegar
7) 5 small ripe hot-house tomatoes, diced

8) 1 cup fresh parsley tops, washed and stems removed, roughly chopped
9) 1 purple shallot, ends and outer covering removed, roughly chopped
10) 3 tablespoons oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
11) 3 oil-packed anchovy filets, drained
12) 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
13) 1 tablespoon dried sweet basil
* 2 tablespoons Colavita Balsamic Vinegar
* 3 teaspoons coarse ground garlic salt with parsley
14) 1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage, uncooked, outer casings removed
15) 1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck 80%lean/20% fat
* Cooking oil for the grill rack
* 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar/Worcestershire mixture to brush on burger patties
16) 2 rounds fresh soft mozzarella cheese, each round cut into 6 slices
* 1 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and stems removed



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

To make the Garlic French Bread, cut the ends off French bread loaves and cut in half lengthwise. Cut loaves into 6 sandwich sections. Open the sandwiches, scooping out about 1/2 inch of interior bread from each top and bottom section, making a hollow inside each section. (Reserve bread crumbs for a different recipe if desired). Combine butter, olive oil and garlic salt in a bowl. Spread the interiors of all bread tops and bottoms generously with mixture. Wrap each top and bottom together tightly in aluminum foil and refrigerate until ready to use. Remove bread from refrigerator 30 minutes before use to bring to room temperature. Keep bread foil-wrapped.

To make the Basil-Infused Olive Oil with Tomato Relish, combine fresh basil leaves and olive oil in a food processor. Pulse until leaves are chopped. Pour mixture through a strainer into a bowl, pressing on basil leaves to release their essence, then discard the leaves. Stir balsamic vinegar into the bowl, add diced ripe tomatoes and stir. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the Cheeseburgers, combine parsley tops, shallot, sun-dried tomatoes, anchovies, Worcestershire, dried basil, balsamic vinegar, and coarse-ground garlic salt in food processor until finely chopped. Put mixture into a large bowl. Add Italian sausage and ground chuck. Mix all ingredients gently until blended, avoiding over-mixing. Divide meat mixture evenly and form into 6 loosely-packed patties.

Brush grill rack with cooking oil. Place patties on preheated, medium-heat grill and lightly brush patty tops with balsamic vinegar/Worcestershire mixture. Cook 4 minutes, covered, then turn patties over and brush again with balsamic vinegar/Worcestershire mixture. Cook 5-6 minutes longer or until done to medium. Remove patties from grill and immediately cover entire patty tops with fresh mozzarella cheese slices (2 per patty to cover each surface).

During the first few minutes of grilling the patties, put foil-wrapped packages of garlic bread around the outer edges of grill rack. Turn packages over after 4 minutes. Remove foil packages from grill when patties are removed.

To assemble each burger, place a cheese-topped patty on bread bottom. Lightly press several fresh basil leaves onto top of cheese, and generously drizzle basil-infused olive oil with tomato relish over the top and sides of the burger. Add the sandwich top and serve.