Friday, July 16, 2010

Grilled Ground Beef Sandwich On Ciabatta

The original title of this post was “Cheese Relish Burgers” – read on to find out why it changed. I say this a lot, but we had some baby Swiss cheese that needed to be used and the following recipe showed up courtesy of Matt and Ted Lee in the July 7th Maryville newspaper, so we decided to give it a try. Bev and her sister were off to one of their little indulgences – getting there fingernails painted – and it was too hot to go outside, so I made up the cheese relish part. We didn’t have any banana peppers but did have the correct amount of Pepperoncini’s that had been taking up a valuable spot on the fridge door. I called Bev for advice and we decided they would have a similar taste to the banana peppers and provide a nice little wang that we like. I made half a recipe to give it a try, but this is the full recipe.

Cheese Relish – makes 2 cups (enough for 16 burgers)

10 oz Swiss cheese
12 oz Jar banana peppers, drained (1 tbsp liquid reserved), finely minced
2 tbsp Minced fresh chives or scallions
2 Tbsp Drained capers
¼ tsp Red pepper flakes
¼ tsp Black pepper
Kosher salt, to taste

In a large bowl, combine the cheese, banana peppers, reserved banana pepper liquid, chives or scallions, capers, pepper flakes and black pepper. Use your hands to knead the mixture together until evenly blended. Season with salt, then mix again. The relish can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

For their burgers, they used 2 tbsp of the cheese relish each along with lettuce, onion and your favorite condiment, but I used the entire half recipe on our four pretty big burgers.

We invited our new friends, Laurie and David, over for a cookout at the dock and decided to have the burgers and side them with some family favorites – fried okra and fried corn. Being from the North this is not regular fare around their place.

Since we typically build big juicy burgers, a regular bun has generally turned to mush by the time it’s eaten, so for this meal we decided to give ciabatta a try. We bought two loaves and used one and a third for the burgers. I made half pound burgers in a square shape to match the bread – I’m not aware of a rule that says a burger must be round and Krystals are square. The tile under the bread is 12 inch for size reference.

I really liked the cheese relish on the burger and the bread worked perfectly, but Bev said it didn’t seem like a hamburger to her. So, I’ll call it a grilled ground beef sandwich on ciabatta :-). Certain items just cannot be altered for her and I’ve found two recently – deviled eggs is the other one. In all fairness, I have a few of them myself. David and Laurie said they had found a source for ciabatta sandwich buns in Knoxville, so we’ll get some for me to use while Bev sticks with the normal bun. I thought mine was very good, even though I didn’t manage to make the meat large enough to cover the bun and got them more done than I wanted – I believe this grill cooks hotter than the one at the house.

Since we’re still getting lots of blueberries (Bev picked a quart the evening before this meal), we decided on To Die For Blueberry Muffins as posted by Penny over at Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. Bev, the family baker, just made them per the recipe and we served with a sweet mead (honey wine) from a local meadery discovered by our son, Eric. They went together very well. I didn't get any pics but you can check them out at Penny's site.

After dinner, David fished and caught several small brim (local term for blue gill, sunfish) and one nice eating size catfish – none of us like turning animals into meat so everything went back. We also watched the bats do their thing at dusk and visited until after 11pm – I know I enjoy spending time with them as I didn’t realize it was that late.

And to top things off, it worked. We’ve had a little rain (3/4”) in the last couple of days, but are still about 7” below normal. But our decision to have a cookout at the dock, resulted in another ½ ” of rain that evening. I’ve known for a long time that we could bring rain by having a lake party, but never realized it would work by inviting just one other couple over.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.



  1. Gotta give this cheese stuff a try. Sounds really good. You think you have pepperoncini taking up room in your fridge? Take a look at a post of mine from one year ago:

    I tried a recipe once that called for English Muffins instead of hamburger buns. It was all I could do give. Turned out delicious, but I still use a burger bun when I make that recipe instead of an English Muffin.

  2. I'm a huge ciabatta fan and Costco sells Ciabatta sandwich rolls. I can only eat about 1/2 of a burger on them - way too substantial for my appetite! I love the cheese relish and it sounds simular to my world famous (home famous just doesn't have the same ring) stuffed jalapeno burgers.

  3. I would have enjoyed the evening and the sandwich looks wonderful. The sweet mead sounds delicious and the perfect thing to have with berries. I hope the day treats you kindly. Blessings...Mary

  4. That relish sounds GREAT ---and I would love it on my burger...You chose the correct bread also for the buns.... YUMMMMMMMM.

  5. Why is the refrigerator door the most valuable real estate in the whole box? Those are great looking burgers. And anything with cheese is great in my book.

  6. I like that spicy cheese relish, great topping. I got some of those square ciabatta sandwich rolls locally recently, I think it was at Earth Fare or Fresh Market. They were actually a bit better than just cutting squares from a loaf since all 4 sides were tapered. You'll like them even better, I think.

    Have a great weekend Larry.

  7. I'm a little behind in my reading Larry. We have been entertaining the granddaughter and family this week. Your burgers look great on the ciabatta bread. Glad you liked the blueberry muffins too. I managed to use my whole gallon of blueberries.


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