Thursday, September 17, 2009

Benny's Caprese Burger

This recipe is entirely my husband's. Not unlike most great inventions, it was born of desperate hunger while using the available resources. At a friend's BBQ my husband stumbled upon a Caprese Salad tray- the traditional tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Like a moth to a flame my husband was drawn to the tray instantly, like an self respecting Italian might be. He began snacking on the perfectly ripened Jersey tomatoes, fresh water packed mozzarella, and pungent basil when something else caught his eye- PROSCIUTTO!!! And what could be better than the aforementioned ingredients with prosciutto??? Perhaps a perfectly char grilled HAMBURGER! A light bulb went off- it was if God had sent him all of these amazing ingredients so he could build this killer burger to share with the world. So here we are, with just a tad of tweaking by his witty wife, we have Benny's Caprese Burger. My only real add here way to turn the basil into a basil/garlic aioli but the beauty is in the details, right? This burger is just awesome- even if you don't have a grill (we certainly don't in our 700 sq.ft. Jersey City apartment) you can use a grill pan or even just a good ol' screamin' hot frying pan. No matter how you go about it- just eat this burger. You're welcome in advance!

Serves 4

1 lb ground sirloin (don’t use any higher fat that 80/20)

2 tsps Garlic powder
Salt and pepper

1/4 lb prosciutto (or about 8 thin slices)
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella packed in water
1 fresh RIPE tomato (preferably Jersey or Florida beefsteak- none of the flavorless grocery store types allowed!!!)
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Hamburger Rolls
For Aioli:
¼ c lite mayonnaise (you could use full strength but I’m watching my girlish figure- ha!)
Handful of fresh basil leaves- maybe 25 leaves? More if you really like basil
3 garlic cloves
Pinch of salt
Fresh ground pepper
In a mixing bowl add ground sirloin, garlic powder, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix just until incorporated, do not OVER blend the meat mixture. Evenly divide the beef into 4 portions by making a cross with the side of your hand in the bowl.
Next, in a food processor, add your mayonnaise and basil and a dash of salt. Pulse until basil is broken down. If you don’t have  food processor, don’t fret! Just chop the basil and garlic as finely as possible and mix into mayo. Place in refrigerator to chill until you are ready to dress the burger.
Meanwhile, heat your grill (or frying pan) to medium high heat. Grab a hunk of your hamburger and portion in to a patty about a ½ inch thick. Put in pan and repeat with the remaining mixture.Cook to temperature, for Medium rare about 2 minutes each side, 3 for medium, 4 for medium well, and 5 for well.
While you are waiting for the beef to cook, dress your buns with the basil mayonnaise and place patty on the bottom bun. Add a slice of fresh mozzarella, 2 slices of prosciutto, tomato and a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar. Top with your other bun and dig in!