Smokey Almond Pesto and Pimento Burgers with Smoked Cheddar

Pairs well with:


Bright and full-bodied, this Zinfandel wine is a curious contradiction in tastes.


Smokey Almond Pesto
1 cup smoked almonds
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, fresh grated
1 large garlic clove, rough chopped
2 1/2 cups packed baby arugula + 12 leaves (for burger)
juice of a fresh lime
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
Pimento Slather
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 stick salted butter, very soft
4 oz. jar of pimentos, diced (2 oz. for slather/ 2 oz. for the patties) 2 shallots, diced (1 for slather, 1 for the patties)
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Patties 1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
1/2 cup smokey almond pesto (above)
2 oz. pimentos (above)
1 shallot (above)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Vegetable oil
6 slices smoked cheddar cheese
6 Sesame seed buns, split
1 large fresh ripe tomato, sliced



Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. To make the pesto, combine smoked almonds, parmesan cheese and garlic in a food processor and process until finely ground. Add the packed baby arugula and lime juice and continue to process. Stream in the grapeseed oil until a loose paste forms. Set aside. To make the pimento slather, combine the mayonnaise, butter, 2oz. of diced pimentos, 1 diced shallots and pepper in a small bowl and stir until well blended. Refrigerate until serving. To make the patties, combine the beef, 1/2 cup pesto, 2 oz. of diced pimentos, 1 diced shallots, salt and pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible, mix well. Divide into 6 equal portions and form into 1/2” thick patties. Brush the grill rack with oil. Place the patties on the rack over direct heat, cover and cook for about 4 minutes until the first side has browned. Turn once and cook to preference, about 4 more minutes for medium rare. During the last minute of cooking, place a slice of smoked cheddar cheese on each patty and recover. Remove the patties to a platter to rest. Lightly toast the buns by placing the cut sides down around the outside of the rack. To assemble the burgers, spread pesto on the cut side of the bottom buns and generously spread pimento slather on the cut side of the top buns. On the bottom of each bun, place 4 arugula leaves, a patty and a fresh slice of tomato. Add the top buns and serve. Makes six burgers.