The Oregonian Burger
8 ounces pepper bacon
10 large shallots
1 large head of garlic, broke into cloves
3-4 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 ounces Oregonzola or Gorgonzola, crumbled
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1/4 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds fresh ground chuck
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 good-quality potato hamburger buns, split
2 pears, cored and sliced
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
To make the Oregonzola-hazelnut smear, heat a large heavy nonstick fire-proof skillet on the grill. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Wrap in foil to keep warm. Reheat the same skillet with the bacon grease still in it. Add the shallots and garlic. Add olive oil, if needed. Put a lid on the skillet and cook until the shallots and garlic are soft. Remove from skillet to cool. When cool enough to handle peel the shallots and garlic and place in a food processor. Pulse about 5 times to break into small chunks. Remove half of the mixture and place in a large bowl, set aside. To the food processor, add the Oregonzola or Gorgonzola, cream cheese, and rosemary, pulse until well blended. Remove mixture from food processor and place into a medium size bowl. Crumble the bacon into mixture, add hazelnuts, stir well. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
For the patties, combine the chuck, salt, and pepper into the large bowl with the reserved shallots and garlic. Mix, handling as little as possible. Shape into 6 patties to fit the bun size. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. Place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling.
To assemble the burgers, place a generous amount of the Oregonzola-hazelnut smear on the cut sides of the buns. On each bun bottom, place a grilled patty, followed by equal portions of the sliced pears, add the top bun and serve.