Caprese Burgers on the Grill
Oh summer, how you tease me. One day it's warm, with the sun cascading through the trees and hitting my face. I am wondering why I think I need this silly sweater I have draped over my arm, having removed it promptly upon exiting the house. I linger in the light, letting the rays warm my skin.
Then tomorrow comes with rain that is cold and biting, and flakes that fall overnight have me reaching for my winter coat as I go to drop off my kids the next morning. However, it is these days, the cold and uninviting ones that help the ground spring forth with life and make me appreciate the warm ones all the more.
My favorite way to appreciate that warmth is by heading outside every chance I get, but most importantly for dinner, on the grill, of course. Enter the Caprese salad: tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella with a light balsamic vinaigrette. It is summer to me. I make it for lunch, for impromptu picnics, for potlucks – thinly slicing and drizzling all summer long, and now, it tops my burgers too.
As my family sits and eats the taste of summer on a crisp, toasted bun, I close my eyes and pretend that summer is already here. After all, it's right around the corner. I can feel it.
1 pound ground chuck (85/15 or near there)
3 large hamburger buns
1-2 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 full romaine leaves, chopped
10-12 whole fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Place balsamic vinegar and dash of salt and pepper in a small dish. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Toss dressing with the romaine and basil leaves and set aside.
Pat out burgers into 1/3-pound rounds that are slightly larger than the buns you intend to use. There will be some shrinking during grilling, so always make your burger larger to account for this. Salt and pepper lightly on both sides.
Turn your grill to high to heat it up to 500º F. Scrape it down so the grates are clean. Then place the burgers on and turn it down to medium-low. Flip the burgers three times, once every 2-3 minutes. After the third flip add the cheese and turn the heat to low. Add the buttered buns to the grill to toast. Close the grill so the cheese melts quickly and wait another 3-4 minutes. Check your buns often, checking after 2 minutes. Remove buns and burgers from the grill. Allow burgers to rest under tented foil for 5 minutes to seal in the juices. Internal temperature of the meat should be 160º F.
Build your burger: bun-burger-tomato-salad-bun. Serve with extra balsamic vinaigrette if desired.
Makes 3 burgers.