Grilled Eggplant and Pesto Burger

Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
4 slices eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 in slices
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 large portabella mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pounds Gouda cheese, shredded
1.5 pounds ground beef, 80/20 blend
1 cup arugula leaves
4 buns onion rolls

Basil Pesto
2 cups basil leaves
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons olive oil

Red Pepper Mayonnaise
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup red bell pepper, grilled, peeled, seeded and chopped
salt and pepper

Preparation

1 Take eggplant slices and sprinkle generously with salt. Place on plate and let sit for 15 minutes. Take paper towel and blot moisture off of eggplant. Brush both eggplant and mushrooms lightly with olive oil on both sides. Season mushrooms lightly with salt. Grill eggplant and mushrooms on grill or using a lightly oiled grill pan until nice brown marks are seen and they are soft on both sides. Remove to plate and put aside.
2 Take beef and split into 4 balls. Take one of the balls and place in one hand. With the thumb of your second make a well in the ball of beef about the size of a golf ball. Place 1/4 cup of grated Gouda in middle of well and press down to compress. With both hands cup the beef and roll the edges of the patty up and over the cheese. Pinch seams and make ball smooth without any obvious cracks. Gently pat burger down into patty shape. Don’t make too flat.
3 Grill burgers on grill (or lightly oiled grill pan) for about 4 minutes per side or until done to your liking. Remove from pan and let rest for 3 minutes tented with foil.
4 Toss arugula in rest of olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.
5 Place all pesto ingredients except olive oil in small food processor with blade. Process untill finely ground. Drizzle in olive oil slowly with machine running for emulsification. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6 Place red bell pepper and mayonnaise in small food processor with blade. Process until pepper is incorporated and smooth.
7 Brush burgers lighly with olive oil and grill until lightly toasted.
8 Brush bottom half of bun with 1 tablespoon of red pepper mayonnaise. Reserve rest for another use.
9 Brush top half of bun with 1 -2 tablespoon of pesto.
10 Place burger patty on bottom bun. Top with egglplant, then mushrooms, then arugula.

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