The Italian Basil, Tomato and Mozzarella Burger


Basil-Tomato Relish

1 cup fresh basil, lightly packed
5 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Garlic Mayonnaise

8 tablespoons good mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt


2 cups fresh basil, lightly packed
¾ cup pine nuts
4 ounces parmesan cheese
2 pounds chuck
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Vegetable oil for grill rack
6 Italian rolls
Fresh Mozzarella cheese



Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make the basil-tomato relish, place the whole basil leaves in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Cover with the tomatoes. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice and pepper. Pour over the basil and tomatoes and set aside.

To make the garlic mayonnaise, combine the mayonnaise, garlic, olive oil and salt in a small bowl. Whisk together the ingredients until they are smooth. Refrigerate until serving.

To make the patties, first combine in a food processor the basil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese. Use the pulse button to coarsely chop; do NOT mix into a paste. In a large bowl, combine the chuck, salt, pepper and contents of the food processor. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the rolls.

When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover and cook until done to preference, turning once, about 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. During the last few minutes of cooking, carefully place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly. Shortly before the patties are finished cooking, cover the top of each generously with mozzarella cheese and close the grill cover, allowing the cheese to melt.

To assemble the burgers, spread the garlic mayonnaise over the cut sides of each of the rolls. Place a patty on each roll bottom. Spoon the basil-tomato relish on top, first allowing some of the liquid to run off when removing it from the dish. Add the roll tops and serve.

Makes 6 burgers.