Sweet and Smoky Spanish Beef Burgers With Pickled Saffron Pears

Accolades 2015 Winning Recipes
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Bright and full-bodied, this Zinfandel wine is a curious contradiction in tastes.

My burger captures the true essence of Spanish cooking with pickled saffron pears, smoky paprika aioli, crispy prosciutto and a Manchego cheese topped beef patty. The bold flavors and contrasting textures are a tribute to the Spanish influence on my cooking and my inspiration in creating this burger. You’ll enjoy the tastes of Spain with every bite.



  • 3/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 Bosc pear, peeled, cored and small diced
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds


  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup jarred piquillo peppers or roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry
  • 1 teaspoon hot, smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed


  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 6 thin slices prosciutto


  • 2 pounds ground chuck
  • 1/2 cup peeled, shredded Bosc pear
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack
  • 6 1-ounce slices Manchego cheese
  • 6 soft, sesame-seed buns, split
  • 1 1/2 cups baby arugula


  1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
  2. To make the pickled saffron pears, bring the vinegar, sugar, salt and saffron to a boil in a small heat-proof saucepan over medium heat on the grill. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Put the diced pear and sliced shallots in a small bowl and pour the vinegar mixture over them. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Drain and stir in the black sesame seeds.
  3. To make the aioli, combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
  4. To make the crispy prosciutto, heat the canola oil in a medium heat-proof skillet on the grill. When the oil is hot enough to make the prosciutto sizzle, add 3 slices to the skillet and cook until crisp. Transfer the prosciutto to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining prosciutto.
  5. To make the patties, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and gently but thoroughly mix. Divide into 6 equal portions and form into patties to fit the buns. Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill rack and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, top each patty with a cheese slice and place buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill rack to lightly toast.
  6. To assemble the burgers, spread some aioli on the cut sides of the top and bottom buns. Place a prosciutto slice on each bun bottom followed by a cheese-topped patty. Top each patty with some pickled saffron pears and arugula. Add the bun tops and serve.