Peachy Keen Mesquite Burgers with Spicy Peach Moscato Marmalade, Sweet Pickled Onions, and Grilled Halloumi Cheese

Pairs well with:

White Zinfandel

With strawberry and melon essences, this American original is perfectly at home with however you like to unwind.


Spicy Peach Moscato Marmalade
3 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 ripe Peaches or Nectarines (soft to the touch), peeled, pitted and chopped finely
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons Sutter Home Moscato

Pickled Red Onions
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
3 drops Chipotle Tabasco hot sauce
2 red onions, halved and sliced thinly

1 Tablespoon Durkee Smokey Mesquite seasoning, St. Louis style
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons grated garlic
½ teaspoon black pepper
6 tablespoons beef broth, homemade or canned
4 heaping tablespoons sour cream
2 pounds ground round
4 cups Mesquite Kettle Potato Chips, placed in a gallon-size plastic bag and smashed till size of coarse bread crumbs

Cheese Marinade
2 grated shallots
2 lemons, juiced
4 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped finely

1 pound Halloumi Cheese (a cheese usually made from goat’s and sheep milk with a high melting point), sliced in 6 slices (Queso Para – a milder white cheese for grilling – may be substituted)
2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 to 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
12 pre-cooked bacon slices
6 good-quality hamburger buns, split (not too hard; preferably ones with a medium crust and soft interior, not spongy)
6 romaine lettuce leaves


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

To make the peach marmalade, heat a small, heavy fire-proof pan on the grill. Add the olive oil, peaches, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, vinegar, and wine. Cover and cook until mixture is tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

To make the pickled onions, whisk the vinegar, water, salt, sugar and hot sauce in a large bowl. Add the onions. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

To make the patties, combine the mesquite seasoning, salt, garlic, pepper, broth and sour cream in a large bowl. Mix until well blended. Add the ground round and mix to blend, handling as little as possible. Shape into 6 patties to fit the bun size. Bread each patty with equal portions of potato chips. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

To make the cheese marinade, combine the shallots, lemon juice, oil, pepper, and oregano in a large bowl. Brush cheese with the olive oil.

When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Grill cheese on each side for 2 to 3 minutes until well marked. Remove from the grill. Add the cheese to the bowl with the marinade. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm and set aside.

Brush more oil on the grill rack if needed. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. Meanwhile during the last 3 minutes, heat a rimmed nonstick perforated grilling pan coated lightly with oil. Arrange bacon on the grilling pan and grill alongside the patties. When the bacon is crisp, remove from the grill and cover with foil to keep warm.

When the patties are cooked, remove from the grill and cover with foil to keep warm. Place the buns cut side down on the grill to toast lightly.

To assemble the burgers, spread equal portions of the peach marmalade on the bottom of each bun, followed by a patty, a slice of cheese, 2 bacon slices, an equal portion of the pickled onions and a lettuce leaf. Add the bun tops and serve.

Makes 6 burgers.
Jackie Mento, The Villages, Florida