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Taste of Italy turkey burger

Taste of Italy turkey burger
Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

To any real fan, a hamburger is never "just a burger." A great burger is a work of art, passionately thought out and painstakingly executed. It's the very extension of the grill master's identity. And, of course, determining what makes ... Read more

Total time: About 1 hour | Serves 6

Turkey burgers

  • 2 pounds ground turkey, a combination of white and dark meat
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup tomato-basil pasta sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup drained and chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups grated pecorino Romano cheese, divided

Step 1In a large bowl, crumble the ground turkey along with the chopped red onion, garlic, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, basil and oregano.

Step 2In a medium bowl, beat the egg. Beat in the pasta sauce and olive oil. Pour the sauce mixture over the seasoned turkey and mix to combine.

Step 3Mix in the sun-dried tomatoes, bread crumbs and one-third cup of the cheese, mixing gently by hand until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Step 4Divide the mixture and form 6 patties, coating them with the remaining cheese. Set aside to rest briefly. The patties can be assembled up to one day in advance, covered and refrigerated until ready to grill; remove the burgers from the refrigerator 15 minutes prior to cooking to temper slightly.

Sauteed mushrooms and olives

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced baby portobello mushrooms
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup sliced kalamata olives, drained and rinsed

Step 1Just before cooking the burgers, heat the oil in a small saute pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the mushrooms with the salt and pepper and saute until lightly colored, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the wine and olives, and keep the mixture over low heat until ready to make the sandwiches.

Taste of Italy turkey burger

  • Turkey burgers
  • 6 slices provolone cheese
  • 6 focaccia rolls
  • Sauteed mushrooms and olives
  • 6 slices tomato
  • 1 1/2 cups of tomato-basil pasta sauce, warmed

Step 1Heat the oven to 200 degrees.

Step 2Cook the burgers: Because the burgers are delicate, you might want to heat a cast iron grill pan on the grill, or cook them in a large frying pan. Heat the grill or frying pan over medium high heat. Coat the surface with a little spray oil and gently add the patties. Lower the heat to medium and cook the burgers for 4 minutes, careful not to move them until they are ready to turn. Gently and carefully flip the burgers using a spatula and your hand. Cook an additional 4 minutes, and check for doneness; a meat thermometer inserted should read 165 degrees.

Step 3Reduce the heat to medium-low and top the burgers with cheese. Continue cooking until the cheese melts, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Gently remove the burgers and set aside to rest for a couple of minutes.

Step 4While the cheese is melting, slice the rolls. Place them in the oven to warm for a few minutes.

Step 5Assemble the burgers: Spoon the sauteed mushrooms and olives over the bottoms of each of the 6 rolls, followed by a slice of tomato. Place a burger on top of each. Divide the pasta sauce among the 6 burgers, spooning one-fourth cup of sauce over each. Cover each burger with a roll top and serve immediately.

Note: From George Levinthal of Goleta, Calif. Prepared tomato-basil pasta sauce is available at most markets.


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