Summer Burgers, Svizzere Estive

The word for “hamburger” in Italian is Svizzera (Swiss), and no, I don’t know why. But they have been popular since long before the arrival of the Double Arches, and Italians have a great many ways of preparing them. Here they are with tomatoes and eggplant, and while the recipe will work well if you use a griddle over the stove, it will be even nicer if you do it outside, over the coals.

  • 4 hamburgers, beef or a mixture of meats if you prefer
  • 4 3/4-inch (1.5 cm) thick slices of eggplant, of the diameter of the patties
  • 4 sun-ripened plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into rounds
  • A pinch of oregano
  • 2-3 leaves fresh basil, shredded
  • A teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Begin by seeding and slicing the tomatoes, and put them in a bowl with the oregano, basil, balsamic vinegar, and three tablespoons of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and mix well.

Salt the eggplant slices and let them sit in a colander for 10-15 minutes. Rinse them and pat them dry.

If you are preparing the dish indoors, heat your griddle. If you are outside, you will want hot but not really searing coals. In any case, grill the eggplant slices 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer them to a plate, season them with salt and pepper, and drizzle the remaining olive oil over them. Then turn the slices so both sides are coated with oil, and let them rest.

In the meantime cook the burghers on the griddle or over the coals until done, turning them once or twice. Season the burghers when they are done, and put them on four plates. Top each with a slice of eggplant, and a quarter of the tomato mixture.

Serve with crusty bread (hamburger buns may not be the best idea here), and a light zesty red wine, along the lines of a Bardolino.

More about Svizzere, Italian hamburgers, and other recipes.

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Categories: Beef & Veal Steaks, Braciole, and More

Author:Cosa Bolle in Pentola

Italy boasts an astonishing number of varietals, denominations, and wines, and tremendous changes are sweeping the land. New wines are being created, new DOCs are being introduced, and the existing denominations are overhauling their regulations both to reflect the practices adopted by their member wineries and to favor improvements in quality. Even the most staid and stolid region can flower seemingly overnight, emerging with exciting new wines and wineries that require rewriting the enological maps and rethinking one's positions. And, of course, recipes too, because cuisine and wine are closely intertwined and it's difficult to imagine one without the other.

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