Burger alla Menta e Parmigiano, con Peperoni, Melanzane, Crema di Formaggio + Peperoncino
Beef Burger with Mint and Parmesan, with Peppers, Aubergine, Cream Cheese + Chili
Ok, so I went a little crazy tonight! The worst thing about it is... I don't regret it for a minute! It is totally against my nature, but I made this crazy-scrumptious tribute to my parents home-town of Barrafranca in Sicily this evening... but built it up into epic American proportions!
This really is the high-rise of panini, but tasty and different enough from your average burger to make it worth looking into... and boy is there plenty to look into! And at the same time it was very, very simple to make!
The burger itself was made of ground beef, onion, mint, parsley, a little tomato paste, a little grated garlic, grated Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and a little grated lemon zest.
Does that sound good to you? Really? Well, that's because it IS!
Being a city dweller, I made this in a griddle- but of course you can do the same thing on your outside grill. Once the griddle was really hot, I placed my hamburger down on it firmly, slid it back and forth briefly once and then let it sit and begin to brown for 2-3 minutes.
Once the burger allows you to loosen it from the grill easily, slide it to one side and place the pepper and eggplant slices onto the part of the grill that is now coated with the meat juices and fat... this will give you a great flavor and will also char much better- and let's face it... that's what this is all about!
Make sure to press down firmly onto the aubergine and pepper until you hear it actually "pop"- you want to heat up the vegetables until their juices begin to flow and then squeeze them until they come to the surface and sizzle.
Flip that burger, slide it around to coat the grill with juices and get the other side going... once it is dark, push it to one side to gently heat all the way through... don't leave it sitting at the hottest part of the grill for the whole time or else it will dry out. The veggies on the other side can get blasted with heat! it will do them the world of good!
Once everything looks as delicious as in my picture ( ;-) ), you can begin to build your sky-scraper of a sandwich together. I chose to use a ciabatta-styled roll- not a soft and squishy hamburger bun... no, no- that wouldn't do at all for a Sicilian!
I set the burger down on a salad base and then layered the aubergine and peppers on top. You could spread the roll with a little pesto I suppose... but for my taste that really would have been overload... it is not as if there is not enough going on here as it is!
The next step is to make a little dressing of cream cheese, mint, parsley, lemon juice, honey and a little olive oil, salt and pepper... whisk this together smoothly and spoon it generously over the top... mmm!
Add a good sprinkle of chili to give it a taste of the temperament of The Old Country... and get ready to enjoy an incredible meal in a bun!
I have to admit... that this really WAS too large to eat in any normal manner... and do you know what I ended up doing? I cut it into 3 separate pieces which were much easier to handle! Hey... we Sicilians are little guys! But we do know how to make a good sandwich!