Mi Piaci Burgers with Grilled Radicchio-Fennel Salad

Pairs well with:

White Merlot

Imagine sipping a lighter Merlot. This fresh, pale-pink wine is a nice change from traditional red or white wines.


Pesto Spread:
3 cups packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 cup mayonnaise
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper

Grilled Radicchio-Fennel Salad:
1/2 Radicchio head, sliced thinly
1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly
1 Heirloom tomato, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup Parmesan Reggiano, grated
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound ground chuck
1/2 pound ground veal
1/4 cup sweet onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
1/2 pound fresh smoked mozzarella, sliced into round discs
6 bun-sized focaccia bread sections, sliced horizontally (Ciabatta bread may be substituted)


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

To prepare the spread, combine all of the ingredients in a food processer until smooth. Transfer mixture to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

To prepare the salad, put the radicchio and fennel in a grill basket and grill, shaking the basket occasionally, until lightly grilled, about 4 minutes. Transfer ingredients to a medium bowl, add tomato, Parmesan Reggiano, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and black pepper. Toss together well, cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

To make the patties, combine the chuck, veal, sweet onion, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Handling as little as possible to avoid compacting the meat, mix well. Shape in to 6 patties to fit the bread size.

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, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. Place the cheese slices on the patties during the last 3 minutes of grilling. Place the bread slices, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling.

To assemble the burgers, spread pesto spread on cut sides of top and bottom of bread slices, followed by a cheese-topped patty, and an equal portion of the Radicchio-fennel salad. Add the bread slice tops and mangia!

Makes 6 Burgers