Taste of Italy Burgers with Tuscan Relish

Pairs well with:

Cabernet Sauvignon

This rich red easily complements your homemade chicken dishes, red meats, game, and mildly seasoned pastas.

I have a herb garden and enjoy the taste of fresh herbs in my food. Adding the herbs to the burger allows me to have a tasty burger while adding less salt.


For the relish

1 yellow bell pepper

2 sweet peppers

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

3 roma tomatoes

1 cucumber

2 peperoncini (optional)

1 shallot (or 1/8 cup red onion)

2 Tablespoons fresh basil

1 teaspoon fresh parsley

2 cloves fresh garlic

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

For the burgers

2 pounds ground chuck (approx. 80% lean)

1 clove fresh garlic

1 Tablespoon fresh basil

1 teaspoon fresh oregano

½ teaspoon kosher salt or fresh ground sea salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

6 – 1 oz slices fresh mozzarella cheese (approx 3/8 inch thick)

6 Italian-style kaiser rolls

36 arugula leaves


Place a mixing bowl in the refrigerator. It will be used when making the burgers. Keeping it cold will minimize moisture loss when mixing ingredients. Also be sure to wash all of the herbs before using.

Making the relish

Spray or brush vegetable oil on the grill to prevent sticking and preheat the grill to around 375 degrees (medium high).

Roasting the peppers enhances their natural sweetness. Halve the bell pepper and sweet peppers lengthways, discarding the seeds and membranes. Brush each with extra-virgin olive oil on both sides and place on the grill with the cut sides down. Roast for about 4 minutes until the sides begin to char, and then turn over and cook another 3 minutes. Remove from the grill and set aside to cool. Turn off and close the grill; you will be allowing the flavors in the relish to blend for a while before making the burgers.

Slice and seed the tomatoes. Chop the tomatoes into small chunks and place in another mixing bowl – not the one from the refrigerator.

Peel and slice the cucumber and remove the seeds. Chop the remainder of the cucumber to the same size as the tomatoes. Add to the bowl.

Chop the grilled peppers into small chunks and place in the bowl. Do the same with the peperoncini if you want a spicier relish.

Peel and chop the shallot and add to the bowl. Chop and add the basil, parsley and garlic. Add the lemon juice.

Stir all ingredients in the bowl thoroughly and place in the refrigerator. For best flavor allow the relish to sit in the refrigerator for about an hour before preparing the burgers.

Making the burgers

Start the grill back up, then remove the mixing bowl from the refrigerator and place the hamburger in the bowl.

Chop the garlic, basil and oregano and place on top of the hamburger, and then add the salt and pepper. Use a spoon to mix the ingredients. Don’t over-blend; the burger should not appear ‘smashed’.

To make the patties, roll each lightly into a ball then place on the surface where you chopped the ingredients. Use parchment paper and a plate to press the burger mixture out into 6 patties.

Place the patties on the grill 3 minutes and then flip the patties to the other side. Place the cheese on the burgers and cook for another 3 minutes.

Remove the patties from the grill and place the opened rolls face-down on the grill. Allow the burgers to rest while the rolls toast. Once the rolls are toasted (about 3 minutes), turn off the grill and remove the rolls.

Place the rolls on the serving plate, then lay the burger on the bottom bun. Add 6 pieces of arugula to the top of each burger and then scoop the relish on top of the arugula. Serve the burger open-faced immediately.