There’s lots of lusty California flavor in a burger sandwich that includes artichokes, fresh basil, sun-kissed red peppers and the garlicky olive paste called tapenade. The latter is a snap to prepare in a food processor, so after you’ve slathered as much as you like on your burgers, use any leftovers to spread on crackers, stir into dressings or liven up a pasta salad.
To make the tapenade: Pit olives by smacking each one lightly on a cutting board with the flat side of a wide-bladed knife. This will “crack” the flesh open. Remove pits and place olives in food processor or blender with olive oil, onion, garlic, capers, and vinegar (or brandy) and pepper to taste (make it lots of pepper). Process until mixture is coarsely pureed.
Grill or broil the burgers to desired doneness. Slather tapenade on top halves of buns. Spread mayonnaise on bottom halves; arrange basil leaves over mayonnaise. Add the burgers and top with artichokes and roasted red peppers. Serve 'em up!
For even more lusty California flavor, marinate the beef patties in a little red wine for 30-40 minutes before grilling. And pour a glass of that same good wine to go with the burgers.
Copyright by Terese Allen