sweet/spicy bacon burger with grilled fennel, onion, avocado and cheddar

Pairs well with:


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


1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, ground
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
12 slices thick-cut bacon
Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil for rubbing on vegetables
2 bulbs fresh fennel, stems and cores removed,sliced into approx. 1" x 3" slices
2 large sweet onions 2
ripe (but firm) Haas avocados,halved and seeded
kosher salt for sprinkling on vegetables
1 stick butter
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
6 onion rolls
1 1/2 pounds freshly ground chuck (containing at least 24% fat)
3/4 sweet onions, minced
3 tablespoons Grey Poupon Country Mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil oil for moistening hands and brushing grill
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar



TO PREPARE BACON, place brown sugar, cayenne pepper, fennel and garlic on flat plate. Mix well. Cut each slice of bacon in half (about 4"-5" per slice). Dredge each slice of bacon in sugar mixture until lightly coated. Place bacon on vegetable rack and place on medium grill. Grill bacon until crisp, adjusting heat downward if necessary. When crisp, remove and set aside. TO PREPARE GRILLED FENNEL, ONION AND AVOCADO, rub oil lightly on all fennel slices and onion slices. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Place fennel on vegetable rack and place on grill at approx. 250 degrees. Cover and grill, turning occasionally, until very tender,(about 20 minutes). Remove fennel from grill and set aside. Place onion slices on vegetable rack and place directly on 400 degree grill. Grill, tossing occasionalyy until tender and slightly blackened, (about 8-10 minutes). Remove onions from grill, cover and set aside. Place avocado halves directly on grill, cut side down. Grill until warmed (about 10 minutes). Remover and set aside until cooled. When cool, slice avocado in 1/2" slices and set aside. TO PREPARE ONION ROLLS, mix butter and garlic with fork till well blended.Slice onion rolls in half. Spread generous amount of butter mixture on both cut sides of each bun. Set aside. TO PREPARE PATTIES, combine ground chuck, minced onion, Grey Poupon, salt pepper, garlic and olive oil, handling meat as little as possible to avoid compacting. Divide evenly into 6 portions. Moisten hands with oil to form 6 patties. (patties shoud be large enough to fit onion rolls and about 1" thick.) Place patties on grill and grill for 4 minutes at 450 degrees. Turn patties and continue grilling for additional 4-5 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 160 degrees for medium. During final 2 minutes of grilling, place equal amounts of cheddar on each patties and place onion rolls, cut side down, on grill to toast, watching carefully to avoid burning. Remove onion rolls and patties. TO BUILD BURGERS, place patty on cut side of bottom half of each onion roll. Place equal amounts of bacon atop each patty. Place equal amounts of grilled fennel atop bacon. Place ewual amounts of avocado atop fennel. Place equla amounts of grilled onion atop avocado. Place top half of onion roll, cut side down on top. Serve and enjoy! Makes 6 burgers Marilyn, Buffalo Grove, IL