Caprese Burger w/ Pickled Tomatoes c/o Parsley Thief

katie vitucci

Usually, when I make burgers at home, my toppings are fresh mozzarella, pesto, and tomato. But, for this post, I wanted something more creative than just that. Something worthy of being called a "recipe"...otherwise, I'm basically just telling you how to build a sandwich.

For a twist on the traditional Caprese ingredients, this burger is made with pickled tomatoes. Something that seems to be catching on these least according to all my Food Network TV viewing. The basil and balsamic vinegar elements come in the form of a basil mayo...which works out well for me, as I'm also known to enjoy mayonnaise on a burger. The rest is the usual...forming the patty by hand, between two pieces of wax paper {makes a perfect patty every time, in my book} and searing it in a hot, "salted" cast iron skillet {a method I learned from my MIL}. Lastly, my favorite parts...creamy, salty fresh mozzarella cheese, and a crusty, airy bread, like ciabatta. 

Caprese Burger

Via The Parsley Thief

Serves 4-6

Caprese Salad is an Italian dish made with ripe tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, and usually balsamic vinegar {either on it's own, or as a vinaigrette}. This recipe is my interpretation of a Caprese Burger...using the classic elements of the salad, but with a twist. Here, tomatoes come in the form of pickled tomatoes, basil & balsamic are in the mayo and fresh mozzarella is used as a delicious topping for the burger. 

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 teaspoon kosher salt

16 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese

6-7 pickled tomatoes {recipe below}

4 ciabatta rolls

Basil mayo {recipe below}

1. Divide the beef into four 6 ounce portions. Roll each portion into a ball and place between two pieces of wax paper. Press down, with even pressure, onto the paper to form an approximately 1/2" thick patty.

2. Preheat a well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the pan with the kosher salt. When hot, cook the hamburger for about 3-6 minutes per side, depending on how you like your burger cooked.

3. Cut the ciabatta rolls in half and coat each side with the basil mayo. Place the burgers on the rolls and top with a few slices of the fresh mozzarella and the pickled tomatoes. Serve immediately. 

Pickled Tomatoes

Serves 4-6

For this recipe I recommend using Campari tomatoes, which are available all year long. They are larger than cherry tomatoes, but smaller than regular ones. They tend to be sweet and lack the "mealiness" that some off-season tomatoes have. 

7 small ripe tomatoes {about 10 ounces}

1 cup distilled white vinegar

1 cup water {plus more for peeling tomatoes}

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

2 cloves garlic {peeled}

4-5 large fresh basil leaves

1. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Cut an "X" into the bottom of each tomato and place them in a medium bowl. Cover with the boiling water and let them sit for 1 minute. Run some cold water over the tomatoes, to cool them down enough to handle. Using a paring knife, peel away all of the skin. Transfer the peeled tomatoes to a sterilized glass canning jar.

2. Combine the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Simmer for 1-2 minutes, or until the salt and sugar have thoroughly dissolved. Let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes.

3. Add the garlic and basil leaves to the jar with the tomatoes. Add enough of the pickling liquid to cover the tomatoes by an inch, or so. Seal the jar and leave in a cool, dark spot overnight. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill, until ready to use. The tomatoes will be ready in 48 hours, but can be stored in the refrigerator for weeks.

Basil Mayo

Makes a generous 1/2 cup

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

a hefty pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Add all of the ingredients to a mixing bowl, and whisk well to combine. Transfer to an airtight storage container, and chill for 1 hour, or up to a week.