Tuscan Taleggio Burger
When we travel, my husband and I spend most of our time (and money!) seeking out local foods, unique flavors, and searching for the perfect taste. We almost never miss an opportunity to try a new restaurant, cafe, or market cart. However, exploring Tuscany several years ago, we ate a meal so wonderful that we actually went back to the same restaurant a few days later and ordered the exact same steak, topped with a rich and meaty grilled porcini, served, Florentine style, with generous wedges of lemon. This burger is full of that same rich umami flavor, balanced with an assertive lemon salad and a gooey, aromatic layer of Taleggio cheese (admittedly from Lombardy, but the perfect partner), encased in a crunchy-but-manageable garlic-kissed roll.
For the mushroom patties:
16 ounces crimini mushrooms (they cook down to just over 7 ounces before being added to the burger)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/3 cup Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon
2 pounds ground chuck
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
For the lemon salad:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest, preferably longer shreds made with a channel knife
½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups arugula
For the garlic buns:
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely minced
6 kaiser rolls, split
For finishing the burgers:
9 ounces Taleggio cheese, in 1/4″ thick slices
To make the patties, preheat a grill to high heat, and heat a large cast-iron skillet on the grates. Trim and wipe the mushrooms, then pulse in a food processor until finely chopped. Heat the olive oil in the preheated pan, then add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushroom liquid is given off, then evaporated. Stir in the garlic, rosemary, and ½ teaspoon salt, then add the wine. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until wine has been fully absorbed. Transfer the mixture to a bowl to cool to room temperature.
Combine cooled mushroom mixture with the ground beef, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and ground pepper. Gently mix to distribute without compacting meat, then form into 6 patties.
To make the lemon salad, combine olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt in a tight-sealing jar, and shake to combine. Wash, dry and trim arugula and set aside in a large bowl until serving time.
To make the garlic buns, combine olive oil, garlic and rosemary in a grill-safe pan. Warm the oil mixture over high heat until aromatic, then set aside to steep for at least 10 minutes. Brush the cut sides of the kaiser buns with garlic oil and set aside.
When ready to serve, grill the patties over high heat 3-4 minutes per side, turning once. After turning, divide Taleggio slices between burgers. Arrange the garlic buns cut side down around the edge of the grill and toast, checking frequently, to a crunchy deep-golden brown. Remove patties and buns from the grill to a platter, one patty atop each bun-bottom.
Re-shake the lemon vinaigrette and pour over the arugula. Toss well, then divide between the burgers, mounding about 2/3 cup tightly onto each patty. Top with the bun-tops, and serve immediately.