Walnut Pesto Burger with Balsamic Pomegranate Reduction
I love cooking all the time and grilling in the summertime.With a job, a new baby and an elderly mom to take care of, I wanted a delicious recipe I could dress up by making from scratch but could also use per-purchased ingredients for (mostly) in a bind. I LOVE making everything from scratch, but I can also buy a jarred pesto and make it on the fly. The balsamic reduction can be made in large batches and keeps forever in the fridge, so I can make this recipe quite quickly if needed, but it is always delicious!
1.5c packed Basil
5 Garlic Cloves
3/4c Olive Oil
1/4tsp Fleur de Sel (or regular sea salt)
3 Tbsp Chopped Walnuts
1/4c Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4c Grated Asagio Cheese
1/4c Grated Romano Cheese
6 Tbsp Walnut Pesto from above
1-1/2 tsp fleur de sel
2 lbs 20/80 ground chuck
Balsamic Vinegar Pomegranate Reduction
3-1/2c Balsamic Vinegar
1c Pomegranate Juice (100% preferred)
For Burger Grilling and Assembly
12 Thin Slices Tomato (approximately 2 medium tomatoes)
1 tsp additional salt
6 Thin Slices Smoked Mozzarella
6 Kaiser rolls/bun (no cornmeal dusting on top)
3 additional garlic cloves
6 Butter Lettuce Leaves
To make pesto, combine all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth. Spoon pesto into a bowl and cover, or put it in a jar. Set aside for flavors to marry while you prepare other ingredients.
To make patties, mix 6 Tbsp pesto and 1 teaspoon additional fleur de sel gently into the ground chuck using a large cold spoon or gloved hands. Avoid handling and over mixing the meat as much as you can to avoid compacting it. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and shape into patties. Thumbprint each in the center (this will help with even cooking on the grill), remove to a covered plate and place burgers in the fridge (if available) or to a cooler to rest while you prepare the balsamic reduction.
To make the balsamic-pomegranate reduction, heat the grill to medium high. Combine vinegar and pomegranate juice in a fireproof saucepan and place on the grill (or sideburner if one is available). Heat to a rolling boil and continue boiling the vinegar mixture down whisking regularly until it boils thickly like candy – approximately 20-30 minutes. At this point, it should be reduced to approximately 1 cup of liquid. Set the mixture aside while you grill the burgers but do not place in the refrigerator or cooler or the reduction will become too firm. Note that you can always reheat it to loosen the mixture if needed before assembly.
If not already sliced, thinly slice tomatoes. Spread out on a plate and sprinkle with additional salt. Cover and refrigerate/set aside for assembly.
Heat your grill (gas or charcoal) to 400 degrees. Once the grill is ready, brush the rack with olive oil. Retrieve burgers from the fridge or cooler and brush all sides with olive oil before placing on the grill. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes. Flip burgers and cook for additional 3-5 minutes covered to cook medium. Brush each patty with a generous amount of the balsamic pomegranate reduction and place one slice of smoked mozzarella on top. Cover the grill and cook 30 more seconds until cheese is slightly melted. While cheese is melting, brush cut side of rolls with olive oil. Remove the burgers from the grill and place the buns, cut side down, on grill to lightly toast. Let burgers rest for 30-60 seconds to seal in flavor while buns are toasting. Remove buns from grill, slice a garlic clove and rub garlic clove on cut side of roll.
Assembly time! To assemble burgers, brush each bottom bun with a generous amount of the remaining balsamic-pomegranate reduction and top with a burger patty. Top patty with a tomato slice and a piece of lettuce. Brush a generous helping of the remaining walnut pesto on the cut side of the top bun and then place this atop the lettuce. Slice burger if desired and enjoy!