$50,000 Burger


For the patties:
3 tablespoons • packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons • grated onion
1 • garlic cloves, minced or pressed
salt to taste
For the Lemon-Grilled Fennel:
1 • medium-sized fennel bulbs, tops removed, sliced thin
1/2 tablespoon • extra-virgin olive oil (recommended: Colavita)
4 slices • thick-cut black pepper bacon or regular thick-cut bacon
4 tablespoons • chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons • extra-virgin olive oil (recommended: Colavita)
4 • fresh figs, stemmed and sliced lengthwise
1 1/2 cups • pre-washed bagged baby arugula, roughly torn
3 tablespoons • vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
2 ounces • aged Teleme cheese sliced thinly (Camembert or Brie may be
2 • good-quality hamburger buns, split (Oroweat Wheat Buns)


For the patties:
Combine the chuck, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, onion, garlic, and salt in a large bowl, handling as little as possible. Shape into 2 patties to fit the bun size. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
For the fennel:
Grate 1/2 teaspoons zest from the lemons. Put the fennel rings in a medium-sized bowl (I used half a fennel bulb) and juice the lemon over half the fennel and toss to coat all the fennel rings. Add oil and season with salt. Put the fennel in a grill basket and grill, shaking the basket occasionally, until soft, 10 to 12 minutes. (I did this on the stove top) Transfer the fennel to a sheet of foil, sprinkle with the lemon zest, and wrap to keep warm.
Heat a large, heavy nonstick fire-proof skillet on the grill. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Wrap in foil to keep warm.
For the topping:
Drain off the bacon fat from the skillet, wipe out the skillet with paper towels, and set the skillet back on the grill. Add the walnuts to the skillet and toast until golden and fragrant; set aside.
Whisk the vinegar with the oil in a small bowl and season with salt, to taste. Combine the figs, arugula, and toasted walnuts in a medium bowl. Toss with just enough dressing to coat. (I like a tart vinaigrette so I use a 1:1 ratio for the oil and vinegar)
When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. Place the cheese slices on the patties during the last 3 minutes of grilling. Place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling.
To assemble the burgers, place equal portions of the warm grilled fennel on each bun bottom, followed by a cheese-topped patty, 2 bacon slices, and an equal portion of the fig-arugula topping. (I would use a lot of the fig topping) Add the bun tops and serve.


This is THE BEST burger you will ever have in your life. I won a burger throwdown because of this recipe and the original cook won $50,000 for her winning burger on Food Network!!!! ENJOY!


4 servings


Saturday, August 28, 2010 - 12:57pm


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