Tuscan Burgers Bruschetta

July is grilling month here at Amateurs with Knives, and I’m going to kick it off by reviewing what went on my Weber this past Independence Day.

These babies:

Photo courtesy of Sutter Home

A couple of years ago I received a book called “Build a Better Burger”. The book is a compilation of the winning burgers from Sutter Home Winery’s Build a Better Burger Contest.


This is a pretty nifty book to have. If you like to grill and you like burgers in a wide, creative variety of proteins, this is definitely one to have on your shelf. Each burger has a photograph (ok, I like pictures in my books – go ahead and make jokes) and the instructions are very simply laid out so as not to intimidate even the most novice chef. Each burger also has a wine pairing listed.

Each BBB contestant must be an amateur, otherwise they are not eligible to win the prize. Still, that doesn’t stop professional chefs from entering, and the published book does note some of the professional burgers, even though they were not prize winners. Still, the most exciting and creative awards have gone to the amateurs. This is one of them.

Tuscan Burgers Bruschetta

Tomato Topping
1 ripe tomato, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

1 scant cup loosely packed crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons chopped onion
2 pounds ground round
Freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
4 thin slices prosciutto or unsmoked ham slices
1/2 pound coarsely grated Fontina cheese

1 oblong loaf crusty Italian bread, sliced diagonally into 12 (1/2 to 3/4 inch thick) slices
Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing on the bread

This particular burger won third prize in 1993, and is paired with Shiraz (Syrah).

There’s really not much to making a burger. Fire up your grill, mix up your burger stuff and throw that sucker on the fire!

Instruction #1: “Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.”

I love these sorts of instructions because the whole “medium-hot fire” thing sort of makes me laugh. It’s fire. Fire hot! I really can’t set it to anything other than flaming inferno. Maybe this is why the AwK admin does all of our grilling…

To make the topping, combine all of the ingredients, including salt and pepper to taste, in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.

The topping rocked. In fact, I had some leftover so the next day so I stuck it on top of a piece of ciabatta and ate it. All that was missing was a glass of wine. True story.

To make the patties, combine the Gorgonzola, parsley and onion in a large bowl. Add the beef and season with salt and pepper. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the bread slices.


When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the patties and cook 4 minutes. Place a slice of proscuitto on each patty and top with Fontina, dividing equally. Cover the grill and continue cooking the patties until done to preference, 1 to 4 minutes longer for medium.

To make the bruschetta, while the patties are cooking, brush the bread slices on each side with olive oil. Place on the outer edges of the grill rack, turning once, to toast lightly.

Yes! A photograph that didn’t come out blurry!

To assemble the burgers, spoon half of the tomato topping on 6 of the bruschetta slices, then top with the patties, the remaining tomato topping, and the remaining bruschetta.

Dig in!

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