RECIPES: Recipe Details

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The creamy, buttery taste of macadamia nuts added to one of my favorite pesto recipes gives a distinctive Hawaiian influence. I also added a bit of watercress for a natural peppery taste. With the love of Blue cheese, I replaced the classic parmesan for a sharper taste and texture to compliment the burger. In cooking burgers I like to repeat using ingredients in various layers to build upon the flavor. Therefore, I also added a bit of Blue Cheese to the Chili Pepper Mayonnaise. Hope you enjoy this island burger with my favorite Sutter Home Pinot Noir.


1 cup firmly packed basil leaves
1/2 cup packed watercress leaves
1/3 cup chopped toasted macadamia nuts
3 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
1/4 cup Colavita extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup finely crumbled blue cheese, divided
2 lbs ground chuck
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tablespoons chili garlic sauce
1 teaspoon ground roasted cumin seeds
Vegetable oil, to brush the grill
6 soft Kaiser rolls split
3 cups European salad mix
1 medium Maui onion, thinly sliced
12 California Avocado slices


1.Preheat a gas grill with cover to medium-high. 2.To make the macadamia nut pesto: in a food processor, pulse chop basil and watercress to finely mince. Add macadamia nuts, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt; pulse chop 10 –15 times to mince nuts and garlic. With the food processor running, pour olive oil in and process to form a smooth paste. Stir in 1/3 cup blue cheese. 3. To make the patties: sprinkle 1/3 cup of the macadamia nut pesto over the ground chuck. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions. Let the patties rest a moment and prepare the Chili Pepper Mayonnaise. 4. In a small bowl combine, mayonnaise, chili garlic sauce, cumin and remaining 1/3 cup blue cheese. Stir to thoroughly blend ingredients. 5. Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and grill until browned on the bottoms, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the patties and continue grilling until done to preference, about 4-5 minutes longer for medium. During the last few minutes of grilling, carefully place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly. 6.To assemble burgers, Evenly spread the remaining macadamia nut pesto over the tops and bottoms of the toasted rolls, Layer the bottom half of the rolls with European salad mix, Maui onion slices and avocado slices. Top with a generous dollop of the chili mayonnaise. Top with the burgers spread with a generous layer of chili pepper mayonnaise. Cover burgers with roll tops. Serve immediately. Serves 6


I use Hawaiian Sea Salt. To evenly and quickly slice the Maui onions, I also use a food processor and the 2mm blade.