Savor the last of the grill-worthy days with a Wagyu burger that's overflowing with rich autumn flavor, especially when paired with the gorgeous pops of ripe plum and spice of the 2018 Nickel & Nickel C.C. Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. From a vintage critics hailed as "near picture perfect," this 94-point Napa Valley Cabernet from the heart of Rutherford is one of our most approachable single-vineyard wines. And, it harmonizes beautifully with the tender beef, salty aged cheddar and earthy mushrooms of this melt-on-the-palate burger. It's one of of our favorite fall food and wine pairings.
Already put away your grill for the season? We've included quick tips for pan-searing, too. The recipe alone will make your mouth water, so pour yourself a glass of Napa Valley Cabernet and get ready for some food and wine inspiration!
Melt-on-the-Palate Wagyu Beef Burger
with Maitake Mushrooms & Kennebec Fries
Wine Pairing: Nickel & Nickel C.C. Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, 94 Points The Wine Advocate
2 Pounds ground Wagyu Beef (or Akaushi ground beef), formed into 4 8-ounce burger patties
1 ½ Teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
4 Seeded hamburger buns
2 Tablespoons olive oil (only for pan-searing)
4 Slices Aged or White Cheddar Cheese (optional, and to taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 clam shell maitake mushrooms, ends trimmed and separated
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 large Kennebec potatoes, cut into ¼-inch thick batons
2 quarts rice oil (peanut, coconut, or vegetable oil works too)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Shape the burgers into 4 equal portions, and moderately season your formed patties with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. If grilling, make an indentation in the center of each patty with your thumb. This will prevent your patties from puffing on the grill.
To Grill: Grill the patties about four minutes on each side, turning only once, for medium rare. For medium or medium-well, adjust your time until cooked to desired doneness. During the last minute of grilling place a slice of cheese (if using) on each patty and toast the rolls, cut-side down.
To Pan-Sear: Heat large sauté pan over high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, followed by the burgers. Sear for two minutes or until a nice char has formed, then flip and cook to desired doneness. Remove from heat and add a slice of aged or white cheddar, if desired.
In a large sauté pan on medium-high heat, add the olive oil and the maitake mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are golden at the edges.
Place the potato batons in a bowl and run water over them to rinse off some of the starch. Set the potatoes aside to soak for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
In a large pot or an electric deep fryer, heat the rice oil to 325ºF. The fries will bubble up, so make sure your pot is big enough to avoid overflow. Drain the potatoes from the water and place to dry on a cloth towel. Gently drop the potatoes into the oil and stir with a wand or slotted spoon. Cook for seven minutes or until potatoes are soft with a tiny bit of color. Remove the blanched potatoes and place on paper towel for 10 minutes to cool. Next, increase the hot oil to 350ºF. Adding the potatoes in batches, cook for two minutes or until golden brown. Place the finished fries on a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt and pepper.
Use spatula or tongs to place your burgers on each bun, along with the maitake mushrooms. If you’re a topping lover, grilled or caramelized onions are a nice addition and harmonize beautifully with the ripe plum and floral perfume, pops of red berry flavor, soft tannins and full, expressive palate of Nickel & Nickel C.C. Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. Don’t skimp on your side of Kennebec fries and raise a full glass as we toast October and the close of the harvest season!
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