Sirloin Spinach-Pesto Burgers with Tomato Jam and Smoked Provolone


2 pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
5 cloves garlic, divided: use 4 minced 1 whole
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 ounces ready-to-serve bagged spinach
1 1/8 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 pounds ground sirloin
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from firm bread
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 tablespoons good-quality Balsamic vinegar
6 slices smoked Provolone cheese
6 Ciabatta rolls
6 large romaine lettuce leaves
oil for brushing grill and rolls



Heat a gas grill to medium-high heat.

Combine tomatoes, 2 cloves minced garlic, sugar, 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion and red pepper flakes in a large skillet with oven-proof handle. If not oven-proof, wrap handle in a double thickness of aluminum foil. Put grill lid down and bring mixture to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is reduced to the consistency of jam, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from grill and let cool.

With food processor fitted with steel blade running, drop 1 whole clove garlic through feed tube; process until minced. Add 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and olive oil to processor; process until almost smooth. Add Parmesan cheese and pulse to mix in. Remove to small bowl and set aside.

Combine ground sirloin, 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, Italian parley, cayenne pepper, fennel seeds, breadcrumbs and spinach pesto; mix well. Form into 6 squared patties, to fit the rolls.

Brush grill racks with oil. Place patties on grill; grill 4 to 5 minutes per side, turning once, or until instant read thermometer registers 145 to 150 degrees for medium, placing cheese on during last few minutes of cooking.

Slice rolls in half horizontally and lightly oil cut sides of rolls, place on edge of grill to toast. Stir 1/8 teaspoon salt, basil and Balsamic vinegar into cooled tomato jam.

Spread 1-1/2 tablespoons of tomato jam on bottom half of each roll, top with a patty, another 1-1/2 tablespoons of tomato jam, a lettuce leaf and roll top.