Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman
When Bobby Flay and I were shooting our show in Tuscany, one of our memorable stops was at Tenuta Astrone in Sarteano. Chef and owner Martino Ferri and his wife Luciana run the place, and they’ve turned their farm into what’s known as an agriturismo – essentially, an Italian bed and breakfast. One of their specialties is a delicious Tuscan dish – a pressed pork burger with taleggio cheese.
They use really cool ancient cooking methods that include terracotta plates to make their delicious pork burgers. You’ll have to watch Bobby And Giada In Italy to see their full method – it’s pretty amazing – but I have a recipe for them that will be doable in your home kitchen!
Mine are certainly not quite the same, but with fresh herbs, a garlic mayo and taleggio cheese, these Tuscan Pork Smash Burgers have those same wonderful flavors as the ones from Tenuta Astrone. Taleggio can be tricky to find, so you can definitely use a different cheese in its place – brie or camembert have a similar flavor and texture, and fontina would even be delicious.
Tuscan Pork Smash Burger
For The Garlic Mayo:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 clove garlic, minced or microplaned
- ½ teaspoon salt
For The Burger Patties:
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped fine
- 1 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4-6 oz fresh Taleggio cheese, divided into 4 even slices*
For The Assembly:
- 4 burger buns
- About 2 cups arugula or mixed greens
- Ketchup on the side, optional
*Chef’s note: If you can’t find Taleggio, brie or fontina cheese will work as well.
- For the garlic mayo: To a bowl, add the mayonnaise, fresh rosemary leaves, and clove of minced or microplaned garlic. Add ½ teaspoon salt, to taste. Cover and set aside to let the flavors marry.
- For the burgers: In a medium-large bowl, mix the fresh herbs into the ground pork. Form the beef into 4 even ball-shaped portions, about 4 ounces each. Sprinkle them evenly on all sides with the salt.
- Heat a grill pan or large skillet over medium-high until hot, about 2 minutes. Add the olive oil to the pan. Working in batches if necessary to not over-crowd the pan, place the portions on the griddle. With a spatula, immediately smash the burgers down flat. Cook undisturbed for about 3-4 minutes, or until the outer edges of the patties look a deep golden brown. Flip the patties, and top each with a slice of taleggio cheese (or your cheese of choice). Continue to cook for 3 minutes longer, until the cheese is beginning to melt and the other side of the patties are golden brown.
- Transfer the burgers to a plate to allow them to rest, and lower the heat on the stove to medium. Take the burger buns, and place them in the pan cut-side down. Grill for about 30 seconds or until golden and crispy around the bottom edges, being careful not to burn the bread.
- To assemble the burgers: Spread a dollop of the mayonnaise mixture on the tops and bottoms of the toasted buns. To the bottom buns, add a handful of arugula. Place the patties on top. Serve with ketchup if desired.