For the patties:
- 2 pounds ground chuck
- 3/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 3/4 cup drained and chopped sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
- 1/2 cup grated onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
For the Lemon-Grilled Fennel:
- 3 medium-sized lemons, preferably Meyer lemons
- 4 medium-sized fennel bulbs, tops removed, sliced into rings
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (recommended: Colavita)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 slices thick-cut black pepper bacon or regular thick-cut bacon
For the Arugula-Fig Topping:
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (recommended: Colavita)
- 6 fresh figs, stemmed and sliced lengthwise
- 3 cups pre-washed bagged baby arugula, roughly torn
- 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
- 3/4 pound aged Teleme cheese (semi-soft cheese made in northern California), sliced thinly (Camembert or Brie may be substituted)
- 6 good-quality hamburger buns, split
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
For the patties:
Combine the chuck, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, onion, garlic, and salt in a large bowl, handling as little as possible. Shape into 6 patties to fit the bun size. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
For the fennel:
Grate 2 teaspoons zest from the lemons. Juice the lemons to yield 2 tablespoons juice. Put the fennel rings in a medium-sized bowl and toss with the lemon juice, oil, and salt. Put the fennel in a grill basket and grill, shaking the basket occasionally, until soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the fennel to a sheet of foil, sprinkle with the lemon zest, and wrap to keep warm.
Heat a large, heavy nonstick fire-proof skillet on the grill. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Wrap in foil to keep warm.
For the topping:
When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. Place the cheese slices on the patties during the last 3 minutes of grilling. Place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling.
To assemble the burgers, place equal portions of the warm grilled fennel on each bun bottom, followed by a cheese-topped patty, 2 bacon slices, and an equal portion of the fig-arugula topping. Add the bun tops and serve.
* Guest Recipe
A viewer or guest of the show, who may not be a professional cook, provided this recipe. The Food Network Kitchens have not tested this recipe and therefore cannot make representation as to the results.