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Gorgonzola Peppamato Lamb Burgers with Caramelized Fennel Slaw

This recipe came to me when I was having friends over for a BBQ and swim party. I wanted to serve burgers that came already assembled, because I didn’t want to clutter the table with condiments. These burgers are so packed with flavor; additional condiments are not needed to enhance their taste. The only decision to be made was to serve them with Sutter Home Merlot or Sutter Home Cabernet; they both complimented the burger, so I did what any great host would do, I served both.


½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 cup (4 oz.) crumbled gorgonzola cheese, divided
3 tablespoon Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1 dash plus 2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 dash plus ½ teaspoon ground pepper
4 slices Vidalia onion, sliced into ¼ inch thick slices
1 fresh fennel head, (about 8oz.) trim off and discard base of head and tough stalks and cut into quarters
4 Roma tomatoes, (2 left whole for grilling, 2 sliced thin)
1 large fresh red bell pepper
2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
6 red leaf lettuce leaves, shredded (about 3 cups)
3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 pounds ground lamb
Vegetable oil for brushing the grill rack
6 Kaiser Rolls split


Pre-heat a gas grill to medium high heat.

Gorgonzola Sauce:
In a small bowl combine the sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and 1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese. Refrigerate the sauce and remaining 2/3 cup of gorgonzola cheese crumbles until needed.

Roasted Vegetables:
In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper and blend together with a pastry brush. Brush the onion slices and fennel with seasoned olive oil and place over Direct High heat on grill rack, and then add 2 tomatoes and the whole red pepper, to the grill rack, also cooking over Direct High heat, and cover with lid. Grill the onions and fennel turning only once, 4 minutes per side, and turn the tomatoes and pepper occasionally on all sides until the skin is blackened and blistered all over, grilling for about 10 minutes for the tomatoes and 15 minutes for the red pepper. When the vegetables are done cooking place the onion slices, fennel, tomatoes, and red bell pepper in a medium size bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 15 minutes.

You may turn your gas grill off if desire and pre-heat 5 minutes before grilling the burger patties.

After the vegetables are done steaming, remove the tomato from the bowl and cut it into small chunks, discarding the skin, core, and most of the seeds and add them to a large bowl. Remove skin, stem and seeds from the pepper and discard. Cut the pepper into ½ inch by ½ inch pieces and add to the tomatoes. Set the bowl aside to cool.

Fennel Slaw:
Remove the fennel and onion slices from the bowl and slice the fennel into thin slices, discarding the core and any tough pieces and place back into medium size bowl. Dice the onion slices and add them to the bowl, along with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, shredded lettuce, and basil, toss them together and set aside. Slice the remaining 2 tomatoes thin, discarding the core and set aside.

Burger Patties:
Add the ground lamb, remaining 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper to the tomato, and red pepper. Combine together gently and divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form into patties to fit the rolls. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Pre-heat the gas grill to a medium high heat.

Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack over Direct High heat, cover, and cook, turning once, about 5 minutes per side. After turning the burgers over, add the remaining 2/3 cup of gorgonzola cheese crumbles, dividing equally to the tops of meat patties. In the final minutes of grilling, place the rolls, cut side down on the outer edges of the grill rack to toast lightly, about 30 to 40 seconds.

To assemble the burgers place a mound of fennel slaw on the top of bottom roll, tomato slices, lamb patty, and then spread the gorgonzola sauce on the bottom of top roll, and then add the roll tops over patties and serve.

Makes 6 burgers