Simple recipes are usually my favorite recipes and any way I can spice up the summertime grilling routine, I do. Pesto burgers came to mind when I was psychotically searching my refrigerator for something to feed my family… in 20 minutes. I happened to have basil pesto, fresh mozz and one pound of ground beef hanging together on the same shelf. Cue the harmonious organ music and ethereal lighting: I had a supper plan. See, like your families, we had things to do and didn’t have time to ‘jack around’, like my husband says.
Ground Beef + Seasoned Salt + Pesto + Fresh Mozzarella = Pesto Burgers, and POOF! they were done in 20 minutes. The magma-intense heat this week has gotten my grill to preheat in a matter of minutes, and I prepared the garlic butter toasts in the oven as the burgers were on the grill. (You can absolutely toast the bread on the grill if you’d like.)
I serve this as an open faced sandwich, and really enjoyed the bottom bread crusty. I’d make this in a flash again using ground pork too, I just happened to have beef fresh and ready to go.
This week has flown by and here we are, enjoying Thursday already. Where does the summer time go? I hate that it hustles by at light speed. July is halfway over, which means the Fair is coming soon. I used to love the Fair, but now it is bittersweet as it signals the time to end summer and send my kids to school. I am that Mom. I do miss them when they are gone, though I cringe when my son shrieks every 20 minutes when my daughter is “poking the bear” (aka: ticking him off.)
We’ve been passing a lot of time in the barn where the pigs we’ll show later this year are. My daughter made my day when she named one of our new red girls, Cinnamon II. (She’s also working on dog-training style commands like sit and stay. I enjoy watching her attempt this.)
See, Cinnamon I was the first pig I ever bought on my own, with money won from Cinnamon Roll Contests I’d entered. She got into it big time with OINK (the mean boss sow) and died last year. You can see her with her head in the bucket below, she loved to chow. And yes I did cry a lot when she died. Because I wanted to.
That was a tough one, but today was a bit redemptive. This Cinnamon baby is the granddaughter of the original, and is just as sweet. And because my daughter now reads my blog, I’d love to show you her favorite gilt, Kinky… because we are all about FAIRNESS in our house. See why her name is Kinky? (Look at her tail.)
If you need me… you know where to find me, but I can’t guarantee that I’ll be clean.
Or smell good.
Until next time… XOXO
- 1 pound ground beef shaped into 4 patties of equal size and thickness, depress centers a bit
- 1/2 tbsp Seasoned Salt to season patties with equally
- 4 TBSP basil pesto plus more for garnish if desired
- 4-8 large slices fresh mozzarella 1/3 inch thick or so, use as much as you'd like
- 4 large slices country bread or crusty sourdough
- 4 TBSP Butter
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- Preheat oven to 400. Preheat Grill to 400-450 degrees or until you can only hold your hand 4" over it a second or two. Shape and season patties. Grill on one side for 2-3 minutes. Flip, add one TBSP pesto per patty, add cheese, close grill and finish cooking (times will vary to achieve doneness desired and will be based on your grill temp. Use an instant read thermometer for best results.) Ours were done in about 9 minutes from start to finish. Garlic Butter Toasts: Spread bread pieces with butter and sprinkle with garlic salt, evenly. Place in preheated 400 degree oven until golden brown. (5 minutes for us, it will depend on your bread type and oven heat.) Assemble: Place cheese and pesto topped burger onto garlic butter toast. Top with additional pesto if desired. Drizzle some reduced balsamic vinegar onto burger if desired (yes, do it.)
Top Secret Mozzarella Tip: If you want 'browned' mozzarella, you'll have to do it under a mega-hot broiler for a few seconds to not over-do your burger. The grill will make it melty... but not browned like you see a tiny bit in my picture. PS: If you are pulling ice cold mozzarella out of the fridge, do yourself a favor and after you slice it, zap it in the microwave a bit, it will warm faster on the grill and speed along the final step in making those burgers (and may help you avoid overcooking!)
Burgers... don't make meatballs, get those patties nice and evenly shaped, then press your thumb gently into the center then you won't have a puffy burger.
Balsamic: Reduce a bit of balsamic by bringing it to a simmer in a small pan. DO NOT BREATHE OVER THIS PAN OF SIMMERING VINEGAR, YOU MAY DIE. All joking aside, I did this accidentally and literally lost my breath. Reduce the mixture until it is thick, like a glaze. (This takes a few minutes of simmering, but watch your pan, swirl a bit and don't let it burn!)
Meat Swap: Try ground pork or even turkey in this burger, it will work, trust me.
What about those buns, huns? Don't serve this on a bun unless you LOVE bread so much you can't live without it in excess. This simple way to serve this burger incorporates a very welcome texture of crunchiness that I usually get from pickles or other veggies. Pesto and mozz are soft... use crunchy garlic toasts for the bed on this burger.