Monday, June 22, 2009

Garden Party Part II

We are on vacation, well we are off from work and on the road to attend a wedding, and being on vacation leaves little room for cooking. At least this particular vacation leaves little time for cooking, and lots of time in the car. Lots of time to think about my latest food trend, or should I say food torture device? I am attempting to go Gluten-free. I started last Thursday. That was the same day we started our mini vacation. When I say these things together they immediately lead to one thought. Bad timing!

If you have ever spent time in the real world and were trying to eat Gluten free you would quickly realize it is in everything. Which makes this recipe all the more painful to write about. It was easy and tasty at the time but now will have to be eaten sans bun. However, if you are one of blessed people that does not have Celiacs, a gluten intolerance, or the desire to torture yourself by attempting gluten free, such as myself, you will enjoy the burger that much more. If you happen to be avoiding gluten you might try this with two marinated grilled portabella mushrooms instead of the bun, let me know how it turns out.

Pancetta Cheeseburgers


4 thin slices of pancetta
1 ¼ lbs ground chuck
¾ teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
Freshly ground pepper
4 ounces fontina cheese, grated or thinly sliced
4 good quality hamburger buns, toasted if desired (or maybe gluten free if available)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Basting brush


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pancetta on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, flipping halfway through, until crisp, about 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile, using your hands, combine ground chuck, salt, chili powder, and paprika in a bowl, and season with pepper. Shape into 4 patties (about 4 inches in diameter), if you want to avoid the fat center burger shape, you can make a small indent in the center of the burger, that way when it cooks it plumps to the same size as the rest of the burger.

Preheat grill to medium. Grill burgers 4 to 5 minutes. Baste with butter. Flip burgers, and top with cheese. Grill 3 to 4 minutes more for medium-rare, basting with butter. Remove and let rest 5 minutes. Top burgers with pancetta, and serve on buns.

Balsamic Mushrooms


¼ cup olive oil
1 pound baby bellas (quartered)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon coarse salt
¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
Freshly ground pepper


Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar, salt, and red-pepper flakes, and season with pepper. Cook 1 minute more. Transfer to a bowl, serve warm or room temperature, I recommend room temp so you can do it before people come.

Serves 4

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