Melt-in-your-mouth Tenderloin Burgers with Fennel & Apple slaw

Pairs well with:

Sauvignon Blanc

With hints of passion fruit, melon, and citrus, this wine beckons you to kick back and find a perfect porch swing.

The most flavorful meat for a burger is ground chuck (20-25% fat), which tastes great due to its fat content.However, I prefer my burgers on the rare side and don’t like to eat uncooked fat, so I devised this recipe, which lets me enjoy a chuck outer layer with a lean and tasty tenderloin center. The tenderloin isn’t too dry since it is seasoned with oil and other flavorful ingredients. My two favorite cuts of beef in one burger.


Mayonnaise Spread

1 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup tomato paste

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon Tabasco pepper sauce

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Fennel & Apple slaw

1/2 cup ice water

Juice of 1 large lemon

1 large bulb fresh fennel (to make 1 cup of julienned fennel)

1 large Red Delicious apple (to make 1 cup of julienned apple)

Avocado & Tomato slices

12 slices California avocado (about 1/4 inch thick)

6 slices beefsteak tomato (about 1/4 inch tick)

4 tablespoons Colavita extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons Colavita aged balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon Herb’s de Provence

Burger Patties (comprised of a Tenderloin center and a Chuck outer layer)

The Tenderloin center

1/2 pound freshly ground, lean, beef tenderloin

2 tablespoons Colavita extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots

1 tablespoon capers, finely chopped

1 teaspoon Tabasco pepper sauce

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

The Chuck outer layer

2 pounds freshly ground beef chuck (20-25% fat)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons Colavita extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup Colavita canola oil (for brushing on the grill rack)

6 Kaiser rolls, split

6 Boston lettuce leaves


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill.

To prepare the mayonnaise spread, combine the mayonnaise, tomato paste, mustard, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate.

To prepare the fennel & apple slaw, combine the water and lemon juice (used to prevent the slaw from turning brown) in a bowl. Finely julienne the fennel and apple into strips about 1/16 inch thick and 2 inches long (best done with a mandolin) making 1 cup of each. Immediately place in the bowl, ensuring that the strips are submerged in the liquid, and gently mix the apple and fennel until evenly combined. Strain the liquid and discard, place the slaw in a bowl lined with paper towel and pat dry with paper towel. Set aside.

To prepare the avocado & tomato slices, spread the slices of avocado and tomato on a platter. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and Herb’s de Provence in a blending beaker or deep narrow bowl, mix well or blend with an immersion blender for about 10 seconds to form a vinaigrette emulsion. Spoon the vinaigrette over the slices until all are marinated.

The burger patties are comprised of a tenderloin center and a chuck outer layer. Prepare the patties as follows: Put the tenderloin in a large bowl and sprinkle with the olive oil, parsley, shallots, capers, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and salt. Gently mix the ingredients with a fork to combine. Divide the mixture into six equal portions. Gently shape each portion into a small ball, which should be about the size of a golf ball. Set aside.

Place the chuck in a large bowl and sprinkle with the basil, salt and pepper. Gently mix the ingredients with a fork, combining evenly while being careful not to compact the meat. Divide the mixture into six equal portions.

To form the patties, take a chuck portion and gently flatten into a large circular patty that is about 6-7 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick. Place one of the tenderloin balls in the center of the chuck patty, then carefully fold the edges of the patty up and over the ball, thus creating a larger ball. Gently toss the ball from hand-to-hand until it is evenly shaped. Pat lightly to form a 3/4 inch thick patty that measures about 4 1/2 inches across. Brush both sides of the patties with olive oil.

When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with the canola oil. Place the patties on the rack directly over the coals and cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn the patties and cook another 3-4 minutes.

Insert an instant-read thermometer into the center of a patty to determine if the beef has reached your desired level of doneness as follows:

Rare: Cool and red center, 120-125 degrees Fahrenheit.

Medium-rare: Warm and red center, 130-135 degrees.

Medium: Warm and pink center, 140-145 degrees.

Medium-well: Warm with little to no pink, 150-155 degrees.

Well-done: Uniformly Grey-brown, 160-165 degrees.

When cooked to the desired temperature, remove patties from the grill.

Toast the Kaiser rolls on the grill, frequently turning until both sides are a light golden brown, about 1-2 minutes, remove from the grill.

To assemble the burgers, spread about a tablespoon of the mayonnaise spread on the cut side of each bun top and bottom. On each bun bottom, place a lettuce leaf, a tomato slice, a patty, equal portions of the slaw (about 1/3 cup), two avocado slices and a bun top.