Italian Long Loaf Herb and Pepper burger

Pairs well with:


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


Onion/garlic/pepper oil
1 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves in garlic press
1 medium red onion minced
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ground peppercorn melange
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Basil/Mint Pesto
2 cups fresh basil leaves
½ cup fresh mint leaves
5 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup parmesan
1/3 cup pepper oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
12 slices tomato
12 thin slices red onion
1 ½ pounds ground sirloin
2 teaspoons pepper oil
½ pound spicy Italian sausage removed from casing
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning finely ground
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper milange
Pepper oil, for brushing on the grill rack and glazing the bread
2 long, wide, but relatively soft Italian loaves split, to be cut into 6 buns
3 cups chopped Romaine lettuce



Prepare a medium-hot to hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. To make the pepper oil: In a sauce pan on the grill, add the olive oil, the pressed garlic, minced onions and ground peppercorns and salt at the same time while the oil is still cool. Heat the oil and slowly sauté the mixture once hot for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently and making sure the oil doesn’t get hot enough to scorch the garlic. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. To make the basil mint pesto: Place the basil, mint, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan and lemon juice in a food processor and process until fairly smooth. Dip off the pepper oil from the saucepan while leaving the garlic, pepper and onions, drizzle the pepper oil into the mixture from the top until all of the oil is incorporated. Slice the tomatoes and remove the seeds and jell. Thinly slice the red onions. Place a layer of the two mixed together in a container and coat generously with the pesto, repeat until all tomatoes onions and pesto are mixed together and chill until ready to use on the burgers. To make the patties, combine the sirloin and pepper oil and mix very well, then add sausage, seasoning, mint, parmesan and salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well, if the mixture appears dry, add more pepper oil. Spread the mixture out on a clean surface and create a slab of meat that is bigger than the two loaves of bread lying side by side, with one inch on either side of the two loaves and two inches between them. Cover the meat with seran wrap, and place the bread loaves on top of the meat to use as a template. Use a dull edge to go around the loaves scoring the meat, leaving an edge of ¾ inch of meat on the sides and 1.5 inches on the ends of the loaves. Remove the bread and seran, and cut the patties out of the meat slab. Cut each pattie into three pieces making them fairly close to the same weight, as the center piece will be shorter but wider. Keep shrinkage in mind when cutting the patties and cut the center piece at least an inch larger than you wish to be the final size. Oil the grill with the pepper oil and basting brush and grill the burgers about 5 minutes on one side,flip once to grill 4 minutes on the other side, and then move the burgers to the outside edge of the grill. While they are cooking on each side, brush the inside of the loaves with the pepper oil mixture, dipping up some of the pepper and garlic/onion in the coating with a spoon and spreading it over the bread with the oil and a brush. Once the burgers are done, place the split loaves one at a time split side down over the coals, toast until bread is sizzling and begins to deeply brown, about 45 seconds, checking them every 15 seconds. I prefer my bread to have a crusty and almost burnt edge. Repeat with second loaf. Remove all from heat. To assemble burgers, evenly distribute a layer of romaine lettuce on the bottom half of the loaf, followed by the three patties of each loaf. Spread basil mint pesto over the patties, arrange the marinated tomatoes and onion across the top of the patties and generously coat with remaining basil mint pesto. Place the top half of the loaves on the hamburger, then using a bread knife, cut through the loaves where the three patties meet each other to form three burgers from one loaf. Makes 6 burgers.