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Swamp Burgers with Parmesan, Capers, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

The word "swamp" appears in a lot in businesses all over Florida, from dining establishments to fast food drive ins to gift shops and clothing stores. Because our gator-infested areas of interest get so much press, I decided to give them a nod. My Swamp burger has complexities just like a swamp, with tart and aromatic and peppery competing with each other for dominance.


1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes (2.5 ounces), drained and chopped
1/4 cup well-drained capers
6 small garlic gherkins
1/4 cup tarragon leaves
1/2 cup flat parsley leaves
2-1/4 pounds ground sirloin and chuck mix (20% fat)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ounces Parmeigiano-Reggiano cheese, thinly sliced with a vegetable peeler
6 large sesame-seed hamburger buns
2 dill pickles, thinly sliced lengthwise with a vegetable peeler.
6 small iceberg lettuce leaves


Turn all burners on gas grill to high, close the lid, and heat for 10 to 15 minutes until very hot. In a small skillet, combine onion with butter, coriander and 1 cup water. Season to taste with salt and pepper, place on grill and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reduces to 1/2 cup.

Meanwhile, in a small food processor, pulse until finely-chopped sun-dried tomatoes with capers, gherkins, tarragon and parsley. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, lightly mix ground beef with salt, sun-dried tomato mixture and freshly ground pepper to taste. Shape meat into 6 patties about 3/4-inch thick.

Grill about 3 to 3-1/2 minutes for medium rare. Transfer burgers to a platter and top with Parmesan. Lightly toast buns on grill, cut side down, for 1 minute. Spread a thin layer of onion mixture on bottom of buns. Top with lettuce, pickle slices and the burgers. Cover with bun tops and serve.


Flavor is what I aim for in these burgers and they have plenty of that.