Mediterranean Veal Burgers

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Burgers are an easy weeknight meal any night of the week, but these Mediterranean veal burgers take your evening to the next level. Picture this: perfectly seasoned and tender ground veal patties topped with basil pesto, hearty eggplant and roasted red peppers, sitting pretty between fresh focaccia. Doesn’t that tempt your taste buds?


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Prep Time:
20 minutes

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Cook Time:
10-15 minutes

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Total Time:
30-35 minutes

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Serves:
4


Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground veal

  • 1 loaf (8 ounces) focaccia bread (approx. 8-inch diameter)

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 4 round slices unpeeled eggplant (1/4 inch thick)

  • 2 tablespoons prepared basil pesto

  • 1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed, drained, cut into strips

  • 1/3 cup prepared basil pesto

Instructions:

  1. Cut focaccia into 4 wedges; using serrated knife, cut each wedge horizontally in half. Pull out 1/4 inch soft bread crumbs from cut sides of tops of focaccia. Place in food processor, fitted with steel blade, or blender container. Cover; process into fine crumbs. Reserve 1/4 cup crumbs for burgers.

  2. In large bowl, combine ground veal, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, egg, salt and pepper, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Shape into four 1/2 inch thick patties. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with equal amounts of the 2 tablespoons pesto.

  3. To Grill: Place patties in center of grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Arrange eggplant around patties. Grill, uncovered, 10 to 12 minutes or until centers of patties are no longer pink and eggplant is tender, turning once.

  4. Place focaccia, cut sides up, under broiler. Grill 1 to 2 minutes. Spread 1/3 cup pesto over cut sides of focaccia. Place equal amounts of eggplant and red peppers on bottoms of focaccia; top with burgers. Close sandwiches with focaccia tops.


Chef’s Tip: *To prepare in oven: Place patties on rack in broiler pan so surface of meat is 4 inches from heat. Arrange eggplant around patties. Broil 8 to 10 minutes or until centers are no longer pink, and eggplant is tender, turning once. Reserve remaining bread crumbs for other use; crumbs may be frozen, tightly covered, up to 3 months.



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