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Playing Beef Burgers with Watercress Pesto


  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into slices 1/2-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided, plus additional for drizzling
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic Drizzle
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • 4 thick-cut slices Italian bread
  • 2 cups watercress
  • 3 tablespoons walnuts, toasted
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, 1 clove chopped and 1 left whole


Serves: 4


Preheat oven to 275F.

Arrange the tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle them with a little EVOO and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast them in the oven for an hour then turn the oven up to 325F for another 30 minutes until the tomatoes are light golden brown. Remove from the oven and reserve. Turn off the oven and preheat the broiler.

When the tomatoes are ready, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. While the pan heats up, combine the ground sirloin, Balsamic Drizzle, Worcestershire, parsley and some salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Combine the ingredients and shape the mixture into four patties. Drop the burgers into the hot pan and cook until seared and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. When you flip the burgers, lay a slice of provolone over each patty to melt.

While the burgers are cooking, set up a food processor. In the bowl, combine the watercress, walnuts, lemon juice, chopped garlic and some salt and pepper. Pulse the machine a few times to chop everything up and then turn on the machine and stream in the remaining 1/4 cup EVOO until it forms a smooth pesto.

When everything is almost ready, place the bread slices on a baking sheet and pop them under the broiler until toasted. When they come out of the broiler, rub the toasted side with the whole clove of garlic and give them a drizzle of EVOO and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

To assemble, layer the burgers with a couple slices of roasted tomato and a good dollop of pesto between two slices of toasted bread.