Bruschetta Burgers

August 4, 2010 § 11 Comments

I am a huge fan of bruschetta, which I have first encountered in Bulgaria where I attended college. In fact, I specifically remember being smitten by the combination of the crusty bread and the tomato-basil-olive oil topping I had at a Blagoevgrad restaurant called Sinyata Kyshta, or “The Blue House,” which was a semi high-end restaurant in town, located, Bulgakov-style, in the building which also served as the headquarters of some political party. This latter fact I didn’t know until Jacob pointed it out to me later.

Now normal people, when they think of a bruschetta burger, naturally imagine the bruchetta-like topping on the outside of the patty, but today I wondered what would happen if I stuck the bruchetta flavors on the inside.

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So I started with a pound of our grassfed ground beef

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A bit of basil from our garden…

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One of our first tomatoes…

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A ginormous, mammoth garlic clove (they turn out that way every year)…

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Some olives… BUT NOT THESE ONES! These ones are just to show what not to use.

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I used the olives from our local food cooperative. Their flavor is rich and robust.

Next, I just chopped everything not too finely and dumped it on top of the ground beef:

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The olives…

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The basil…

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The tomato…

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The pressed garlic clove…

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Salt, pepper, and mixed it all together into a mass.

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I have to admit that these patties were kind of small… my personal belief is that to get those juicy burgers with a bit of pink in the center, you need to make them much larger. So I don’t know what came over me here.

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Which is the reason they came out a tiny bit dry – but you could definitely taste the basil and the olives! And I think they looked colorful.

Now you can certainly serve this with extra bruschetta topping on the outside – in my case, tomatoes, olives, and basil, tossed together with sunflower oil and red wine vinegar – on top of a toasted bun rubbed with a halved garlic clove. That’s what a sophisticated person would do. But I just topped it with an onion and spread some mayo on the bun, just to keep it all-American. The mayo, by the way, went really good with this. And that completed my experiment. Now you know!

§ 11 Responses to Bruschetta Burgers

  • SMITH BITES says:

    Burgers are so fun to play around with in terms of flavor combination, spices – even different meats. Personally, I like my burgers smaller so these look just about perfect – although I do like a pink center too!

    • Sofya says:

      Yeah they are. They are also inexpensive to play around with. If you ruin it, well, it wasn’t that expensive. Not like experimenting with tenderloin for instance. Ask me how I know this.

  • Tes says:

    The burgers look delicious. It looks amazing and seems to be very flavourful.
    I will have to try this recipe soon 🙂

  • jason says:

    These look really tasty. I bet a bit of feta or ricotta salata stuffed in the middle of these would also taste really good. Great photos too!

    • Sofya says:

      Thank you, Jason, this means a lot coming from you on both levels!

      Feta would also be good! I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but one other time I put crumbled blue cheese into burgers along with grated onions and chopped cilantro, and those were even better. If you are a lover of blue cheese, these were quite amazing. In general I like to add a little extra fat to burgers (such as cheese). A little cream is also nice.

  • Foodie says:

    Mmmm. Will try this soon & report back. My inclination is to put a slice of provolone on each one & serve with some kind of eggplant, maybe caponata.

    thanks!

  • Foodie says:

    Experiments underway….
    I think this is a terrific idea. And ‘though I like seasonal food in theory, I think working around a heartbreaking lack of fresh basil at my house may lead to a winter version.

    That’s right, no fresh basil. So I mixed in fresh homegrown tomatoes, chunks of black olive, and pignolias, with a dash of dried basil and pepper. I may have used a bit more garlic than you. I shaped it into long patties for hoagie buns and broiled them in my electric oven about 7 min. I made a big pile of grilled onions by slowly frying them in equal parts beef fat and olive oil till they got all soft and sweet. Then drizzled a bit of balsamico over it all. My husband pronounced it a darn good breakfast. He also thought it would be better with fresh basil.

    Anyway, we’re going to keep fiddling with it at my house. Lamb and bison are locally produced here, so we’ll try that, too.

    And I LOVE the fact I don’t have to apologize for cooking onions with beef fat here. Thanks!!

  • Sofya says:

    What an awesome experiment! How wonderfully adventurous. And I love the fact that this was… breakfast :). Just the kind of thing I would do. Now, what made the onions grilled? Did you mean caramelized by any chance?

  • Foodie says:

    We’re having a good time! I’m pretty much besotted by the whole family of meatballs, from Brooklyn to Vietnam.

    You’re right to call me on the terms. In French cooking this would be lightly carmelized onions, but the French normally use butter. In the American SW, meat sandwiches are often offered with “grilled onions” that have been cooked unto glorious stringy bits on the griddle in whatever puddle of grease is handy, which is often beef. So “grilled” is a misnomer but that’s what it’s called; maybe to file under “regional dialect/ we ain’t got no French food ’round here.” Similarly, if you go into a real diner and order grilled liver and onions, it’ll be griddle fried in butter and/or bacon grease.

    And I forgot to mention we also tried it with the caponata and it was perfect. Pretty good imported stuff comes in cans, but if you like eggplant I’m happy to supply a recipe to do it yourself.

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