#103 The Essential Onions

Arugula Pesto Hamburger Topped with Grilled Onion Steaks and Mozzerella (Yields: 4 servings)

• 6 oz. baby spinach leaves (about 6 cups )
• 1 to 2 garlic cloves - peeled
• 1/2 teaspoon (packed) finely grated lemon peel
• 3 cups fresh arugula leaves
• 2 tablespoons pine nuts
• 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
• 2 lbs ground chuck
• Ciabatta buns
• 4 fresh mozzarella slices - 1/3 inch thick (about 6 oz total )
• Large slices tomato
• Salt + pepper

Onion steaks:
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 2 tablespoons butter - melted
• 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
• 1/4 cup honey
• 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
• 2 large sweet onions, peeled, cut horizontally into ½ inch thick slices
• Salt + pepper
• Bamboo skewers, approximately 6” long (soaked in water for several hours)

To make the pesto:
Rinse spinach, drain briefly, and then place in large glass bowl. Microwave spinach, uncovered on high just until wilted, for approximately one minute. Drain, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

Using the chopping blade of a food processor, add the garlic and lemon peel and process until the garlic is finely chopped. Add the spinach, two cups arugula, pine nuts and lemon juice and process until a coarse puree forms. With the machine running, gradually add oil in a thin stream and blend until almost smooth. Add the cheese to the workbowl and pulse until incorporated. Transfer the pesto to a small bowl, and season to taste with salt pepper.

To make the burgers:
Combine the ground beef, salt, pepper, and four tablespoons of the spinach-arugula pesto in a large bowl. Mix lightly with fingertips, just until incorporated. Form four, evenly-sized burgers.

To make the onion steaks:
Preheat a grill pan or outdoor grill. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and butter. Then, in another small bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey and balsamic vinegar.

Run two soaked bamboo skewers parallel through each onion slice to keep slices intact. Brush both sides of onion slices with the oil-butter mixture. Place onions on the heated grill and cook about 10 minutes, turning and brushing often with the oil-butter mixture. When the onions begin to char, brush their tops with the mustard mixture and cook until the mixture begins to bubble, about two minutes. Turn the onions, brush again with the mustard mixture, and grill until they begin to caramelize, about one minute longer. Transfer onions to a plate and keep warm.

Place burgers on the heated grill and allow to cook approximately four minutes on each side until meat is thoroughly cooked (to an internal temperature of approximately 160˚F). Grill the ciabatta, cut side down until golden.

To assemble the burgers, apply a thin layer of pesto to the ciabatta, followed by a burger, an onion steak, one slice of mozzarella cheese, tomato slices and arugula leaves. Cover with bun top. Serve with the remaining pesto on the side.

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Copyright © 2009 Hubert Keller. All rights reserved.