Hot and Spicy – Sweet and Crunchy Roasted Pecan Apple Salsa Burgers


1 large red delicious apple, finely chopped
1 cup Sutter Home White Zinfandel
2 ounces chopped pecans
1/2 cup hot and spicy real mayonnaise
1/2 cup miracle whip dressing
2 cups baby greens, chopped
1 large tomato, diced
1 3/4 cup finely chopped orange bell pepper, 1/2 cup for patties, 1/4 cup for baby greens
3 teaspoons kosher salt, 2 1/2 teaspoons for patties, 1/2 teaspoon for baby greens
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon for patties, 1/4 teaspoon for baby greens
1 large Fresno pepper, seeded, finely chopped
3/8 cup chopped fresh chives
1 cup chopped portabella mushroom
2 1/2 pounds fresh ground chuck
Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack
6 oatnut original premium buns, split
6 slices Swiss cheese



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

To make the hot and spicy salsa, combine chopped apple and White Zinfandel in a 1 1/2 -quart bowl. Cover and place in refrigerator to marinate, at least 1 hour. While apples are marinating, wrap pecans in an aluminum foil pouch. Place pouch on grill. Toast pecans for 3 minutes, turning pouch over every 30 seconds (pouch will inflate while cooking; do not deflate the foil pouch). Remove from heat (pouch will gradually deflate). Set aside to cool. When the chopped apple has finished marinating, strain the wine off (into a glass to drink, or discard). Divide chopped apple into two small bowls. Reserve one bowl, cover and set aside. In the other bowl of chopped apple, add 1/2 of the roasted pecans, reserve remaining pecans for later use, and add the hot and spicy mayonnaise and stir gently. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

To make the sweet and crunchy dressing, in the reserved bowl of chopped apple, add the remaining half of roasted pecans, and the miracle whip dressing and stir gently. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

To make the tossed baby greens, combine the mixed baby greens, tomatoes, and 1/4 cup of the orange bell pepper, in a large bowl, set aside remaining 1/2 cup of the orange bell pepper for later use. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, set aside remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt for later use. Add 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, set aside remaining 1 teaspoon of ground pepper for later use. Toss lightly to combine. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

To make the patties, combine the Fresno pepper, the remaining 1/2 cup orange bell pepper, and 1/4 cup of the chives, reserve remaining 1/8 cup for later use, in a 3-cup food chopper and chop on high until minced. Add the mushrooms and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the ground chuck, the remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of ground pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the rolls. Make a slight dimple in the center of each patty (this will prevent it from puffing up while it cooks).

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, 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking the patties carefully place the rolls cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly. During the last minute of cooking the patties top each patty with a slice of cheese to melt.

To assemble the burgers, spread a layer of the hot and spicy salsa over the cut sides of the roll tops. On the cut side of the roll bottoms, spread a layer of the sweet and crunchy dressing and then top with a 1/2 cup of tossed baby greens, a patty, and sprinkle with and equal portion of the remaining chives. Add the roll tops and serve.

Makes 6 Burgers