Beef/Turkey Burgers & Pesto Pea Salad

There are two things I am going to try really hard to accomplish for you over the next four days….but I can’t make any promises that they will get done: 1) I will have many posts ready for you so you can continue to get recipes while I’m eating fresh seafood, exploring Peggy’s Cove, and having generally fantastic times with family; and 2) that I will even get one more post in before I go. It’s terrible, but I’m suspecting this week will be busier than I am already expecting it to be. Work will be hectic with only 4 days to get everything done, so my co-worker isn’t bogged down with my work. Packing has barely commenced (but why should it have…I still have 91 hours before my plane takes off). And I have many visits with family and friends lined up before I go. I am apologizing in advance. I plan on truly saying “I’m sorry” with inspired recipes from the East Coast. I hope that helps.

We also have a guest at the moment. A friend from University is in town doing her work placement. She managed a great location for dwelling during the first 5 weeks of her stay (it was an approximate 10 minute walk from the Hospital where she was placed), but parents of one of the folks owning the home are coming for a visit – to see the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge I believe – so now my friend is staying with us for 4 nights! Just another reason why recipe writing just might not happen for a while – I’m taking a quick moment to squeeze this in while she is Skyping with friends.

As you may have noticed, I’m currently reading Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? But I’ve got a recipe of hers from another one of her books to share with you today instead. It is for a salad that I think is perfect for summer. Full of basil, fresh spinach, and sweet peas. Wonderful summer flavours on a plate. Or in a bowl. I honestly didn’t do much to change this recipe. I think I may have used a bit less spinach than she originally called for (and in the end, there was still so much spinach!), but I could tell the salad would be great exactly as written. So why mess with it. Plus it’s Ina, and I’m pretty sure anything she writes on paper is perfection – my stomach and taste-buds always seem to think so anyways. This salad was made about a month ago, before there was an abundance of basil in warm weather gardens, so we used a bottled pesto. Feel free to make your own. Just be sure it’s a traditional basil, pine nut, parmesan pesto.

We served the salad with burgers. Delicious beef and turkey burgers. I’ll admit I would prefer a beef burger over other burgers any day, but to lighten things up (yes – we attempt to be healthy from time-to-time. Balance right?) adding turkey to the beef makes things a bit leaner. Plus it allows us to indulge in toppings such as full fat aged cheddar, applewood smoked bacon, mayonnaise, and avocado. The burgers and salad were all that was necessary for a full meal. Although if you’re inviting a few people over, more salads are always a welcome addition to a summer table.

Beef & Turkey Burgers with Avocado

I normally would put breadcrumbs, egg, and onions in my burgers. To hold everything together and make the burgers more substantial. But it was only myself, Kyle, and my sister-in-law who would be eating these, so I wanted to split the mixture into thirds…and a third of a pound of meat is plenty enough without adding all that filling. And if you’re gentle enough with your patties, they won’t fall apart. You’ll just taste pure meatiness combined with delicious toppings. 

Burgers
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb ground turkey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Toppings
3 slices aged/old cheddar
3 strips applewood smoked bacon, cooked & split in 2
1 avocado, peeled, cored, & thinly sliced
sliced red onion
1 tomato, thinly sliced
mayo, ketchup, mustard, relish – any other toppings you desire
3 sesame seed buns or Kaiser rolls

Gently combine all the ingredients for the burgers (ground beef through pepper). Prepare your grill to medium heat (medium-high if your grill runs cold). Shape the mixture into 3 patties. Lightly oil the grill. Grill the burgers for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Don’t move the burgers around while they are grilling, otherwise you run the risk of tearing the patties. Let the heat do the work – when the patties are ready to be turned, they will be easily coaxed off the grill by your flipper.  During the last couple of minutes on the grill, place the cheddar on the patties, and lightly oil the buns and grill them (if desired). Take the patties off the grill and let them rest for about 3-5 minutes – the perfect amount of time to dress your bun.

Serves 3.

Pesto Pea Salad

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten

3-4 big handfuls baby spinach leaves
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed (or fresh peas, lightly blanched)
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted

Combine spinach and peas in a serving bowl. Add the pesto, cheese, and salt and toss everything together lightly (as Jamie Oliver says “Use your Fairy Fingers”). Sprinkle with the pine nuts.

Serves 4.

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