On the Burner: Gourmet Hamburgers & Zucchini Fries

As the dog days of summer are drawing near, we're all scurrying around trying to soak it all up. Only a few more afternoons by the pool, picnics by the lake or romps through the sprinklers.

One last thing to hold on to? Summer food. There's nothing like it- the perfect summer meal is simply firing up the grill and adding fresh vegetables from your garden. David and I recently made an amazing summer meal straight from the pages of Barefoot Contessa's How Easy Is That?

The recipe is actually for sliders, but we decided to do full-sized burgers instead. We were hungry. Increasing the size made the patties slightly crumbly, but it certainly didn't bother us. It was gooood.


  • 2 pounds premium ground beef (80 percent lean and 20 percent fat)
  • 1 tablespoon good Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for brushing the grill
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
  • 3 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces grated Gruyere
  • 12 small Brioche buns (I used whole wheat onion buns)
  • 4 ounces baby arugula
  • 3 medium tomatoes, sliced in 1/8-inch-thick rounds
  • 2 small red onions, sliced in 1/8-inch-thick rounds
  • Ketchup, for serving


1. Build a charcoal fire or heat a gas grill.

2. Place the ground beef in a large bowl and add the mustard, olive oil, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix gently with a fork to combine, taking care not to compress the ingredients. 

 3. Shape the meat into 12 (2-inch) patties of equal size and thickness.

4. When the grill is medium-hot, brush the grill grate with oil to keep the sliders from sticking. Place the sliders on the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the sliders over with a spatula and cook for another 4 to 6 minutes, until medium-rare, or cook longer if you prefer the sliders more well done.

5. For the last 2 minutes of cooking time, place 1/2-ounce Gruyere on the top of each burger and close the grill lid. Remove the sliders to a platter and cover with foil.

 6. Slice the buns in half crosswise and toast the halves cut side down on the grill.
Divide the baby arugula among the 12 bottom buns, top each with a slider, and finish with a slice of tomato and red onion. Cover with the top of the bun and serve hot with ketchup. 

You can find this recipe here.

As a side dish, I made amazing zucchini fries that I found here over on Natasha's blog, Schue Love.


  • 3 zucchini
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup of seasoned Italian breadcrumbs (I used Japanese Panko crumbs- fabulous texture!)


1. Spray two cookie sheets with cooking spary.  
2. Slice up the zucchini into little french fry slices.  
3. Mix the milk and the egg white in a bowl.  Mix the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in a separate bowl. Dip each zucchini slice first into the milk/egg mixture then coat in the Parmesan/breadcrumb mixture.  
4. Bake at 420 degrees for 20 minutes.

Yum, right?

David and I were happy campers at the end of this meal!
Are you cooking up anything fun to celebrate the end of the summer?


  1. It's 8 in the morning and these both sound amazing right now. I literally got some zucchini at the farmer's market yesterday.....I think this will be our dinner tonight! Thanks for the suggestion. Can't wait.

  2. Yum! The fries look amazing. Mark cooked up some ribs last night...probably the last for the season :(

  3. I think I need to get on the bandwagon and try zucchini fries. Looks so good.

  4. I LOVE a good burger and have been dying to try zucchini fries--bookmarking this recipe!

  5. This looks amazing! I want to eat it all right this second.

  6. Zucchini fries have now been added to my 'must' list!

  7. Yum!! Zucchini fries!! =) Those sound absolutely amazing and look delicious.

  8. Looks like the perfect weekend meal! Love zucchini fries! :)

  9. oh my god...those zuchinni fries! SO YUMMY!

  10. I can't believe you took time to take a picture once all that was ready!

  11. Cook it for me right now?? Pretty please! Looks scrumptious.

  12. those zuccini fries just made me drool!!! YUM!!!!

  13. yum! i love zucchini fries!! i want some right now!!


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