Peppery Garden Variety Burgers on Saffron Buns

Pairs well with:

Pinot Grigio

You won’t need a bouquet of flowers when you share our Pinot Grigio. This crisp wine with floral aromas is a wonderful way to make an entrance.


1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
1/3 cup Sutter Home dry white wine, any varietal
1 cup (approximately) Colavita extra virgin olive oil
6 long branches fresh rosemary (often sold in bunches as “rosemary skewers” )
2 pounds ground beef chuck
6 tablespoons slivered basil
2 medium cloves garlic, minced coarse or Kosher salt
1 package Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese potato chips(crush one ounce – 1/5 of the package)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste (coarse grind )
2 loaves split sesame semolina bread, tapered ends removed
6 slices smoked mozzarella
4-5 oz bag pre-washed baby arugula
6 thick slices heirloom, beefsteak, or homegrown tomatoes



Set a gas grill on high, then reduce temperature to medium-high. Adjust burners for direct grilling and adjust rack so that burgers will be 5-6” from heat source. For charcoal grills, prepare a medium-hot fire and wait until coals have ashed over. Stir saffron with 2 tablespoons wine. Infuse 5 minutes then mix with 3/4 cup Colavita extra virgin olive oil. Set aside. Discard 1/3 the needles from center 2" of rosemary branches. Rinse branches well; do not pat dry. Set aside until ready to use. Burgers: Combine beef, 2/3 of the basil, garlic, 1-1/4 teaspoons coarse salt and crushed chips. Handling mixture lightly, form into six 3/4” patties. Brush with a little extra virgin olive oil. Coat generously on both sides with coarsely ground pepper. Insert a rosemary branch horizontally, through center of each burger with about 1-1/4 inches sticking out from either side. Cut six 3-1/2” lengths from breads to create burger buns. When the grill and the cook are both ready, oil rack and toast buns lightly, on cooler part of grill. Remove, brush cut sides with saffron oil. Place burgers on grill. Cover and grill 4-5 minutes, turn with a wide spatula (not the rosemary), cover and grill until browned and internal temperature reaches 165 F. Top with a slice of cheese, close grill and cook very briefly, just to warm cheese. Avoid overcooking. To Serve: Place arugula on saffron-brushed bun bases. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Add burgers, tomatoes, a drop of olive oil, a pinch of salt, remaining basil and a few potato chips. Close buns. Remind guests to remove the rosemary before biting in. As you pull the branch through the burger, the needles season the burger with a final burst of flavor.. Suggested wine accompaniment: Sutter Home Merlot