Macadamia Nut Crusted Goat Cheese Burgers with Gingered Plum Mustard and Sweet Onion Arugula Slaw


For the Macadamia Nut Crusted Goat Cheese:
2 cups Panko bread crumbs, divided
2/3 cup roasted salted macadamia nuts
2 eggs, lightly beaten
12 oz. soft fresh goat cheese, cut into 6 disks

For the Gingered Plum Mustard:
1 large piece of fresh ginger, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup, chopped)
2 Tbsp. Umeboshi Plum Vinegar
1/2 cup Grey Poupon whole grain Dijon mustard
1/2 prepared Asian plum sauce

For the Burgers:
6 oz. Proscuitto di Parma, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup minced fresh (washed and dried) arugula leaves
1 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 3/4 lb. ground chuck (80% lean, 20% fat)

For the Sweet Onion Arugula Slaw:
2 cups packed (washed and dried) arugula leaves
2 Tbsp. avocado or grapeseed oil
2 Tbsp. Umeboshi Plum Vinegar
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
3 large sweet onions, peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced

To Cook the Goat Cheese:
1/2 -3/4 cups avocado or grapeseed oil
6 portions of the prepared (coated and chilled) goat cheese, from step #2, below

To Finish the Burgers:
Avocado or grapeseed oil for oiling burgers, buns and grill
6 prepared burgers, from step #4 below
6 onion challa or brioche hamburger sized (about 4 1/2″- 5″ in diameter) rolls; NOTE: I make my own challa rolls with chopped sweet onion added to the dough; you may be able to persuade your local baker to make a special batch for you if you don’t bake. You can substitute high quality soft brioche or challa rolls without onion
Ginger Plum Mustard, from step #3, below
Sweet Onion Arugula Slaw, from step #5, below



1) PREPARE YOUR GRILL: FOR A GAS GRILL: If you have a grill that has more than one section, heat one section to high and one to medium. If you only have one section, heat it to medium.

2) FOR THE MACADAMIA NUT CRUSTED GOAT CHEESE: Place the 1 1/3 cups of the Panko bread crumbs into the food processor or blender and process until very finely ground. Pour finely ground Panko into a small shallow dish. Place the remaining 2/3 cup Panko and the 2/3 cup macadamia nuts into the food processor and pulse until nuts are finely ground (be careful not to over process the nuts). Pour the Panko/nut mixture into another shallow dish. Place the 2 beaten eggs into a third shallow dish. Line up the dishes in the following order on your work surface: Panko, eggs, Panko/nut. Pick up a disk of the goat cheese and press it firmly into the finely ground Panko in the dish. Flip it over and press it firmly into the Panko again, making sure teh cheese is evenly coated and of an even thickness. Shake off any excess Panko and dip the goat cheese into the eggs, coating it completely. Let the excess egg drip off, and then coat the cheese in the Panko/nut mixture, pressing it lightly so the nuts adhere. Place the Panko/nut crusted cheese onto a clean plate and repeat the above procedure with the remaining 5 disks of goat cheese. Place the plate of coated goat cheese into the cooler for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days (you want it good and cold before you cook it so it won’t melt completely).

3) FOR THE GINGERED PLUM MUSTARD: Place the 1 cup coarsely chopped ginger into the food processor or blender and process until finely chopped. Scrape the chopped ginger out of the machine into a small, fine strainer/sieve set over a small bowl and press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Place 1 Tbsp. of the ginger juice into a small bowl (save the rest for another use) and add the 2 Tbsp. Umeboshi plum vinegar, 1/2 cup whole grain Dijon mustard and 1/2 cup Asian plum sauce and whisk to combine thoroughly. Cover and set aside at room temperature until ready to serve.

4) FOR THE BURGERS: Place the 6 oz. Proscuitto di Parma into the food processor and process until finely ground. Scrape the proscuitto mixture out of the processor into a large wide mixing bowl. Add the 3/4 cup minced arugula, 1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Use a rubber spatula to fold the mixture together until very thoroughly combined. Make sure the mixture is thoroughly combined. NOTE: You want it uniformly and thoroughly mixed so when you add the beef you will not have to handle it any more than necessary. When the Proscuitto mixture is evenly combined, crumble the ground chuck over the mixture in the bowl and use your hands to toss the beef with the mixture-like a salad-crumbling the beef chunks as you mix. You want to handle the meat as little as possible while still mixing it evenly and thoroughly. When mixed thoroughly, divide into 6 burgers/patties (a slightly rounded or “heaping” 3/4 cup meat mixture per burger-if you have a little meat mixture left over, make the chef a little spicy meatball). Place the burgers onto a clean platter and cover with plastic wrap. Chill if not cooking within 1 hour (remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling).

5) FOR THE SWEET ONION ARUGULA SLAW: Place the 2 cups arugula leaves, 2 Tbsp. avocado or grapeseed oil, 2 Tbsp. Umeboshi plum vinegar and 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt into the food processor or blender and process until smooth. Scrape the arugula into a medium mixing bowl, add the thinly sliced sweet onion and toss to combine. Cover and set aside at room temperature until ready to serve (don’t prepare more than 1 hour in advance-the arugula tend to start to darken and lose its vibrant green color over time).

6) TO COOK THE GOAT CHEESE: When you are ready to start cooking the burgers, place a large cast iron skillet or dutch oven onto the hottest part of the grill and add enough avocado or grapeseed oil to cover the bottom of the pan with 1/4″ of oil. When the oil is hot, remove the chilled Panko/nut crusted goat cheese from the cooler and place into the hot oil, sauteeing just until the cheese is golden brown on both sides (2-3 minutes per side depending on the heat and your grill. Remove the cheese as it is done to a clean warm plate nad tent with foil to keep warm until ready to serve).

7) TO COOK THE BURGERS: NOTE: Have a spray bottle filled with water ready (grill-side) when you cook the burgers to put out any flare ups (flames) that result from the melting/dripping fat from the burgers. Use the avocado or grapeseed oil to lightly oil both sides of all of the burgers and lightly oil the grill. Grill the burgers for about 4 minutes per side (you are aiming for about 135-140 degrees internal temperature-they will stay very juicy and moist because of the proscuitto and arugula), turning them once. While the burgers cook, prepare the buns by creating a “divot” in each top bun: remove excess dough from the inside of each top bun-this will help the cheese stay on the burger and the burger stay together. Lightly butter the cut sides of the buns with the truffle butter. When done, remove the burgers to a clean plate and tent with foil to rest and keep warm while you toast the buns. Place the buns, cut sides down around the edges of the grill (on the cooler part of the grill so the butter doesn’t burn) and cook for about 1-2 minutes, or until warm and lightly toasted. Remove buns from grill and place one top and bottom onto each of 6 plates.

8) FINISH THE BURGERS: Spread about 1 1/2 Tbsp. of the Gingered Plum Mustard onto the cut sides of each top and bottom bun (spread it into the “divot” in the top buns). Place 1 cooked burger onto each bottom bun. Place a cooked goat cheese round onto each burger. Pack about 1/4-1/3 cup of the Sweet Onion Slaw into the divot in each top bun and quickly flip the tops onto the burgers, pressing down slightly so the cheese is “smushed” onto the burger (it will melt onto the hot burger and create a nutty, cheesy sauce).

Serves 6.