- 2 pounds coarsely ground chuck, chilled
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plush 1 teaspoon
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 slices (about 6 ounces) Monterey Jack Cheese
- 4 ciabatta buns
- About 1/2 cup Tapenade (recipe below)
- 4 large leaves butter lettuce
- 1 medium, ripe tomato, thinly sliced
- 1 1/3 cups pitted brine-cued black olives, such as kalamata
- 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained (optional)
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
- Leave from 10 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley or basil or a mix of both
- Leaves from 2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons cognac or brandy
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Pinch of freshly ground lack pepper
Handling lightly to keep the texture light and juicy, divide the meat into 4 evenly sized, thick patties. The burgers can be shaped and refrigerated, covered, for several hours or overnight.
When ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat until very hot or build a medium-hot fire in a barbecue. Generously season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper.
Cook the burgers in the skillet, turning once or twice, for 7 to 10 minutes for medium-rare. Do not press down on the patties. With a large spoon, baste the burgers several times with the fat in the pan. (You can also preheat the oven to 450°F and cook the burgers on top of the stove until they are brown on both sides, and then finish them in the oven.) To grill the burgers, oil the grate, arrange the patties on it, and cover. Cook as above.
For the last minute or two of cooking, drape a slice of cheese over each burger to melt. Then remove them to a warm platter, keep warm, and let rest for several minutes before serving.
While the burgers cook, toast the buns in a toaster oven or under the broiler, about 5 inches from the heat, until lightly toasted. Or toast them on the outer perimeter of the grill rack.
To build the burgers, spread each of the bun bottoms with about a tablespoon of tapenade. Top with a lettuce leaf, and then with overlapping layers of tomato. Add the burgers, and then a generous dollop of tapenade. Cover with the bun tops. Serve immediately.
- makes about 1 1/2 cups -
Put the olives, anchovies, capers, olive oil, garlic, parsley, thyme, cognac, mustard, lemon juice, and pepper in a food processor or blender. Process, stopping to scrape the sides occasionally, until you have a fairly smooth purée. No salt is needed because the anchovies and olives are fairly salty. Transfer the tapenade to a container and set aside until needed. The tapenade keeps, covered and refrigerated, for up to a week.