Ever since my trip to Rogue Tavern and the somewhat disappointing experience with the pesto sliders, I’ve been making plans to make my own pesto burgers. Now, I didn’t start this blog – initially – to share the various things that I throw together for meals (though I have been cajoled more than once to write my reci … well, I can’t even call them “recipes,” usually, because mostly it’s cooking by the Force).
I am no professional chef. My experience at cooking is trial and an exceptional comfort-level with error. I’m not a card-carrying foodie, though I appreciate the ideals. But God love ‘em, it’s just not practical every time.
That said, I’m going to share my newest creation – following the Beautimous’ squire naming of it – the Besto Pesto Burger. For the complete meal, obviously, suit yourself, but I’ll share what I prepared. Let’s just agree at the onset that it’s more of a food guideline … because I didn’t use a recipe to make it.
Besto Pesto Burgers
I have a basil plant that is freakin’ out of control. So, as a wildlife management tactic, I dedicated myself to making homemade pesto. I consulted several recipes … and then pretty much like always, I modified. Normal or not, here are the “food guidelines” for my pesto:
- 3-5 cups of fresh basil, cup up
- 1&1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic (fresh or canned)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 to 1&1/2 cups of shredded Romano cheese (any hard cheese will work).
- 2 tablespoons parsley
- 2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
- At least 4 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin or light), probably more
- Salt and pepper to taste
Note this will make a lot more than you’ll need for the burgers. You can save in the fridge for several days or freeze for a couple months.
- Place all the ingredients, except the vinegar and oil (and s&p) in a blender (or food processor). Pour in the vinegar and 2-3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Blend on lowest speed. You’ll probably need to stop and scrape the side occasionally.
- Add more oil, as needed. What you’re trying to achieve is a certain consistency in the mix – chopped, wet, pasty but not liquefied (see the rough, gross photo for an idea … it’s the best I could do, the pesto’s almost gone!). If you need more than 4 tablespoons, go for it … get it to the consistency that you want.
- Taste it … then add salt and pepper as you want (around a tablespoon or less). Voila. You’ve got pesto. What does it yield? I don’t know. A bunch of pesto!
- 2 lbs of ground beef (80/20 … don’t use lean meat and don’t go for the 73/27 either)
- Besto Pesto Mix … and yes, you COULD use sto’ bought pesto. I won’t be around to tattle on you.
- Sliced yellow tomato (or whatever kind)
- Sliced Purple onion
- Sliced mozzarella cheese
- Romaine lettuce leafs
- Loaf of French Bread
- Condiments to suit
- Fire up the old grill and let it get to a good medium-low heat
- Thoroughly mix 2 tablespoons of the pesto into a quarter pound of the meat.
- Repeat until you have all burgers ready for the grill.
- Cook on low to medium-low heat 5-7 minutes on each side or until done to your liking. WARNING (Other than the ones that you should know about cooking safety … these burgers are oily and likely to have flash flames on the grill. Keep some water handy, don’t flip more than necessary and DON’T PRESS).
- Also place the purple onion on the grill. Prep in favorite way to keep it from sticking.
- Onion is done when it is has some scorching … this is delicious (caramelized sugars on the onion).
- When the meat is cooked, build your burger. Serve on French bread topped with tomato, some grilled onions, a slice of mozzarella cheese, lettuce and whatever condiments are to your liking (suggest mayo and very light mustard).
Let me know how this works for you … It was a hit around here.