Rustic Mediterranean Burgers (Beef and Sausage Burgers with Grilled Fennel and Olive Relish and Feta-Boursin Spread)
1/2 lb hot italian sausage (casing removed)
2 lbs ground sirloin
1/4 cup Sutter Home Zinfandel
2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
GRILLED FENNEL AND OLIVE RELISH:
3 medium fennel bulbs, white part only, sliced into rings (about 1/2 inch thick)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup pitted kalamata olives, drained
1 cup pitted green olives, drained (not stuffed)
Juice of one large lemon
3 packages (5.2 ounces each) of garlic-herb boursin cheese, softened
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, for brushing grill rack
6 ciabatta sandwich rolls, split (or substitute non-seeded Kaiser rolls)*
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, for brushing buns
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
To make the patties: Heat a large, heavy nonstick fire-proof skillet on the grill. Add sausage to skillet and heat until cooked through and no longer pink. Remove sausage from skillet with a slotted spoon and place into a large bowl. Add the sirloin, wine, garlic and salt, and mix thoroughly, handling as little as possible. Shape into 6 patties to fit roll size. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
To prepare the grilled fennel and olive relish: Brush both sides of the fennel rings with one tablespoon of the olive oil. Place the fennel rings in a grill basket, and cook for about 5 minutes. Flip fennel rings over, and grill for 5 more minutes. Remove fennel from basket and place in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the kalamata olives, and the green olives, and pulse again until finely chopped. Remove relish from processor and place in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and mix thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
To make the feta-boursin spread: combine the boursin with the feta in a medium bowl, and mix thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. Brush the roll halves with the olive oil. Place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling.
To assemble the burgers, place equal portions of grilled fennel and olive relish on each roll bottom. Place the patties on top of the relish. Spread equal portions of the feta-boursin mixture on each roll top. Place roll tops on top of patties, and serve.
Makes 6 burgers.
*When choosing ciabatta rolls, look for a ones with a softer texture… if they are too hard the burgers will be difficult to eat! If you can’t find soft ciabatta rolls, Kaiser rolls make a good substitute.