Caprese Burger

It is certainly no secret how much I love Caprese, an Italian salad conmprised of tomato, basil and mozzarella on a pool of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I have served it cubed, tossed in an evoo (extra virgin olive oil) balsamic vinaigrette, marinated cubed Caprese and served it in a melted parmesan cup and I have served it on bruschetta, to name just a few, but never in a burger.  So, Introducing!  My Caprese Burger!

This is flavorful and simple and feeds four to six.  Six if you make burgers mini-slider sized, like my mother likes, four for heartier appetites. Here is my easy list of ingredients for my Caprese pesto:

6-8 fresh basil leaves
pinch salt and pepper
1 level tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Pulse in a food processor (I have a little one for small jobs like this one), taste for flavor balance, adjust, if needed, more evoo or salt and pepper, spatula into a bowl and set aside to let the flavors marry. 

Burgers Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 to 1 pound ground chuck
1 rounded tablespoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
2 sloppy tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 splash of Worcestershire sauce
Fresh basil leaves (3 per burger), whole
fresh mozzarella, sliced, 2 slices per burger
tomato, thinly sliced into discs

Special sauce:

3 tablespoons mayonnaise or plan Greek yogurt
1.5 teaspoons dry Italian seasoning
pinch salt and pepper
1.5 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
2 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, grated
1 rounded teaspoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Stir the special sauce ingredients together to form a spread. 

In a large bowl, add the meat. Add all of the ingredients to the meat and use your best kitchen utensils, your hands, and mix the seasonings, balsamic and Worcestershire sauce into the meat. I find it funny that chefs tell us "do not overwork the meat".  How long or how much is overworking the meat?  I find that a few good "swooshings" of your hands through the meat like beaters on a mixer works everything together quite efficiently. 

Form the burgers to the desired size and put a thumb hole in the center.  I followed Bobby Flay's advice about that and it works, in that the burger does not poof up and the juices remain in the burger, not squished out of it because the burger rounded.  I also gently season both sides of the burgers with salt and pepper. 

After about four or five minutes on the first side, flip the burgers and place the mozzarella slices atop the burger. If the burgers are large, let it cook six or seven minutes before flipping. Create a foil tent and place it over the burgers if you are frying them to help the cheese soften and melt over the sides. 

Now would be a great time to toast the buns. I drizzle the buns with evoo and add a little garlic powder to them.  That is just my preference. Do not burn them under the broiler like I often do!  Keep an eye on it and do not start fires.  

When the buns have toasted and the mozzarella has started oozing over the rounded edges of the burgers, add the Caprese spread to the bun. I put it on the top, and the special sauce on the bottom. I added the three large basil leaves to the bottom, atop the special sauce, thinly sliced tomatoes, burger and place the top bun atop the burger. 

It's all about the Caprese spread and special sauce!  

This was one of my best burgers ever. 

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In the meantime, Thank You for your time and readership!  Now, Go Cook For Someone You Love!

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