Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Caprese Burger


Some of you might remember the Cheddar & Guinness Dip recipe I wrote for the folks from the Wisconsin Cheese Board back in March. They were nice enough to ask me to submit another guest post for their blog, Wisconsin Cheese Talk. This time, the subject matter was...Cheeseburgers! Of course, I did not hesitate to say yes. I love a good cheeseburger.
It also happened to be good timing...as, I've been meaning to get a recipe for a burger up here for some time. I actually had a reader write me, saying they loved the recipes I featured, but that they were perplexed as to how an American home-cook didn't have a single burger recipe in the archives! I promised to get on that...
So, now I have...and this happens to be a darn good one, if I do say so myself.
I tend to get settled in my ways with food...ordering the same take-out items for dinner, or the same sandwich from my favorite deli, the same entree from one of the restaurants in our regular rotation. I'm nervous to branch out, because what if it's not as good as my old standby? I'm not a "specials" person, and hardly bother to look at them, unless it's a new place.
The case is also true when it comes to how I like a cheeseburger. When I make burgers at home, my toppings are fresh mozzarella, pesto, and tomato. But, for this post, I wanted something more creative than just that. Something worthy of being called a "recipe"...otherwise, I'm basically just telling you how to build a sandwich.
For a twist on the traditional Caprese ingredients, this burger is made with pickled tomatoes. Something that seems to be catching on these days...at least according to all my Food Network TV viewing. The basil and balsamic vinegar elements come in the form of a basil mayo...which works out well for me, as I'm also known to enjoy mayonnaise on a burger. The rest is the usual...forming the patty by hand, between two pieces of wax paper {makes a perfect patty every time, in my book} and searing it in a hot, "salted" cast iron skillet {a method I learned from my MIL}. Lastly, my favorite parts...creamy, salty fresh mozzarella cheese, and a crusty, airy bread, like ciabatta. You can see my guest post by clicking here.
Hope you enjoy this burger as much as I did...

Begin by pickling the tomatoes. This needs to be done ahead of time {although on a few occasions I've been impatient and only waited a few hours before eating them...they were still delicious}. For this, you'll need 10 ounces of small, ripe tomatoes.

Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Cut an "X" into the bottom of each tomato and place them in a medium bowl. Cover with the boiling water and let them sit for 1 minute. Run some cold water over the tomatoes, to cool them down enough to handle. Using a paring knife, peel away all of the skin. Transfer the peeled tomatoes to a sterilized glass canning jar.

Meanwhile, begin the pickling liquid by combining 1 cup of distilled white vinegar, 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons of kosher salt, and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 1-2 minutes, or until the salt and sugar have thoroughly dissolved. Let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes.

Add 2 cloves of {peeled} garlic and 4-5 large basil leaves to the jar with the tomatoes. Pour in enough of the pickling liquid to cover the tomatoes by an inch, or so.

Seal the jar and leave in a cool, dark spot overnight. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill, until ready to use. The tomatoes will be ready in 48 hours, but can be stored in the refrigerator for weeks.
Next, is the basil mayo, which can also be made ahead of time {in fact, it tastes even better if you do so}. For this, add a 1/2 cup mayonnaise,

1 tablespoon {finely chopped} fresh basil leaves, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, a hefty pinch of freshly ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic,

1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to a mixing bowl. Whisk well to combine. Transfer to an airtight storage container, and chill for 1 hour, or up to a week.

To prepare the burger, cut four ciabatta rolls in half and coat each side with the basil mayo. Preheat a well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the pan with a teaspoon of kosher salt.

Divide 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef into four {6 ounce} portions. Roll each portion into a ball and place between two pieces of wax paper. Press down, with even pressure, onto the paper to form an approximately 1/2" thick patty. When the skillet is hot, cook the hamburgers for about 3-6 minutes per side, depending on how you like your burger cooked.

While the burgers are cooking, cut a pound of fresh mozzarella into slices, and remove some of the pickled tomatoes from the jar, to let a bit of the liquid drain off.

Place the burgers on the rolls and top with a few slices of the fresh mozzarella and the pickled tomatoes.

Serve immediately.

Caprese Burger

Serves 4-6
Caprese Salad is an Italian dish made with ripe tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, and usually balsamic vinegar {either on it's own, or as a vinaigrette}. This recipe is my interpretation of a Caprese Burger...using the classic elements of the salad, but with a twist. Here, tomatoes come in the form of pickled tomatoes, basil & balsamic are in the mayo and fresh mozzarella is used as a delicious topping for the burger.

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon kosher salt
16 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
6-7 pickled tomatoes {recipe below}
4 ciabatta rolls
Basil mayo {recipe below}

1. Divide the beef into four 6 ounce portions. Roll each portion into a ball and place between two pieces of wax paper. Press down, with even pressure, onto the paper to form an approximately 1/2" thick patty.
2. Preheat a well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the pan with the kosher salt. When hot, cook the hamburger for about 3-6 minutes per side, depending on how you like your burger cooked.
3. Cut the ciabatta rolls in half and coat each side with the basil mayo. Place the burgers on the rolls and top with a few slices of the fresh mozzarella and the pickled tomatoes. Serve immediately.
Click here for the printable recipe.

Pickled Tomatoes

Serves 4-6
For this recipe I recommend using Campari tomatoes, which are available all year long. They are larger than cherry tomatoes, but smaller than regular ones. They tend to be sweet and lack the "mealiness" that some off-season tomatoes have.

7 small ripe tomatoes {about 10 ounces}
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup water {plus more for peeling tomatoes}
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cloves garlic {peeled}
4-5 large fresh basil leaves

1. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Cut an "X" into the bottom of each tomato and place them in a medium bowl. Cover with the boiling water and let them sit for 1 minute. Run some cold water over the tomatoes, to cool them down enough to handle. Using a paring knife, peel away all of the skin. Transfer the peeled tomatoes to a sterilized glass canning jar.
2. Combine the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Simmer for 1-2 minutes, or until the salt and sugar have thoroughly dissolved. Let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and basil leaves to the jar with the tomatoes. Add enough of the pickling liquid to cover the tomatoes by an inch, or so. Seal the jar and leave in a cool, dark spot overnight. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill, until ready to use. The tomatoes will be ready in 48 hours, but can be stored in the refrigerator for weeks.
Click here for the printable recipe.

Basil Mayo

Makes a generous 1/2 cup

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
a hefty pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Add all of the ingredients to a mixing bowl, and whisk well to combine. Transfer to an airtight storage container, and chill for 1 hour, or up to a week.
Click here for the printable recipe.

15 comments:

LMBrown said...

Wow, this looks amazing! Can't wait to try it!

Egle said...

This is a MUST make recipe. Thanks, Katie!

Ruth said...

This looks sooo good! And your photos are exquisite!

Heidi @ Food Doodles said...

That looks absolutely delicious for a hot summer day! I'm especially interested in the basil mayo though, that really sounds fantastic!

Joanne said...

Caprese is such a beautiful beautiful thing. This burger must be heavenly!

Marla said...

This burger is vibrant & gorgeous. Love the marinated tomato idea.

Winnie said...

Oh my. This looks amazing. I just woke up but I could eat one right now ;)

megan @ whatmegansmaking said...

oh my goodness...this looks AMAZING. I can't wait until tomatoes are in season here!

Lenavanka said...

Mmh... In Holland we don't have a hamburgertradition. But this looks absolutely yummie.
Can't wait to try it.

Make Me Drool said...

Can't wait to try the pickled tomatoes!

rooth said...

What a brilliant combo - I will need to try it

Sarah B. @LemonFireBrigade said...

watering. watering mouth. wow, excellent post and recipes! Thanks.

Andrea Templeman said...

Made it. Loved it.
I am going to post a link to your page for my Weekly Sandwich Sunday this coming Sunday. www.itsthelife.typepad.com

Anonymous said...

Made this last night. It was a huge hit with the family! This is such a nice, fresh change from the average burger. The tomatoes are to die for, I have been sneaking a bite of them all day, I can't leave them alone!

Anonymous said...

MmMmmmMmmm these pickles are sour! and just scrumptious.
Excellent recipe.

Though its just so hard to get your hand to the bottom of those jars!

Thanks so much!

Tomato Tomahto,
Beth Thompson

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