Grilled Burgers with Mushroom-Bacon Relish and Fontina Cheese
About 10 ounces portobello mushrooms
4 strips bacon (about 4 ounces), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 C. chopped red onions
1 t. dried thyme leaves
3/4 t. kosher (coarse) salt, plus more if needed
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
dried thyme leaves
6 thin slices fontina cheese
6 good-quality hamburger buns, split
1 garlic clove, split
6 crisp lettuce leaves
Prepare the relish:
Cut out and discard the tough stems from the mushrooms. Rinse mushrooms and pat dry. Cut into 1/2-inch dice and measure out 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups.
Saute the bacon in a medium-heavy skillet over medium heat until crisp; drain on paper towels. Pour off and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the pan drippings. Add the mushrooms and onions, and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the thyme, salt and vinegar; cook, stirring, until vinegar has evaporated, about 1 minute.
Remove from heat and stir in bacon. Season with more salt, if needed. (Relish can be made a day ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate. To reheat, stir over low heat.)
Make the burgers:
Shape the ground beef into 6 patties. Generously season both sides with salt, pepper and thyme.
Prepare a grill with the rack set 4 to 5 inches from the heat. When grill is hot, place burgers on it and cook, turning once or twice, until a meat thermometer inserted into the burgers registers 160 degrees. Top burgers with cheese and grill until cheese melts, 1 minute or less. Toast the buns on the grill for a few seconds, then remove and rub the toasted sides with garlic.
Place the lettuce on the bottom halves of the buns and add burgers. Spoon warm mushroom relish on top. Cover with tops of buns. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.
Picnic Basket From Kim of Kim's Whim