Celeb restaurateur, Law & Order scene stealer, marathon man, author, and grill king
Burgers and warm weather go together like baseball and drunken heckling, but living on half-frozen patties and stale buns for an entire summer will turn you into a bona fide communist. Break up your burger benders with creative dishes like this panini-style hybrid.
To make the piquillo pepper-smoked paprika aioli, combine your mayonnaise, garlic, piquillo peppers (or roasted red peppers), paprika, and salt in your food processor and process until smooth. Put this mixture in a small bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving (as long as you keep it cold, you can use this up to a day later).
Turn your grill to high and neatly form the ground chuck into four six-ounce burgers. Brush these with two tablespoons of oil, season both sides with salt and pepper, and place on the grill until golden brown and slightly charred (roughly four to five minutes). Now turn them over and continue cooking to medium-rare doneness, about three minutes longer.
Spread a few tablespoons of the fresh aioli on the bun bottoms, topping with one slice of cheese, one slice of ham, a burger, another slice of ham, and another slice of cheese, in that order.
Brush the top halves of your burger buns with oil, place them top down on the grill, and press on them with a heavy spatula until lightly golden brown, about one to two minutes. Toss the burgers back on, bottom bun down, and add the top bun. Now the crafty part: Place a foil-wrapped brick on top of each burger to grill the bottom bun until golden brown just like the top bun (the weight of the brick mashes the burger together and gets the cheese good and melty). Plate your creations, take them inside, and serve them to ungrateful guests.