It's time to pull out the grill! The official start of grilling season is this Memorial weekend. The weather is finally warm, making it the perfect occasion for a large celebratory gathering. And what would a backyard barbecue be without the ubiquitous burger? After all burgers are part of the American tradition. They're easy to make, relatively inexpensive, and easily please a crowd of family and friends.
Everyone knows beef burgers, but what about lamb burgers? OK, they're not the most traditional for Memorial Day, but they're really good. And who said we can't try something new? I can't forget the famous lamb burger at The Breslin, April Bloomfield's British-style pub. The burger I had there was perfectly cooked and juicy, thick and full of flavor. This burger is my attempt at recreating it at home.
This recipe has a bit of a Mediterranean feel, almost Greek. The lamb burgers are topped with salty feta and tangy pickled red onions. The feta complements the burgers very well, adding a tangy, salty flavor. The onions cut right through the rich flavor of the lamb. I like to serve all my burgers on toasted brioche buns, which absorbs the meat's juices. This is the way to enjoy a burger, pure and simple.
Lamb Burgers with Feta and Pickled Red Onions
1-1/2 pounds ground lamb shoulder
olive oil, for brushing
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 brioche buns
sliced feta cheese, for serving
pickled red onions (recipe follows), for serving
Divide the ground meat into 4 balls and form into patties, pressing a dimple into each. Place on a tray lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Heat a grill or griddle at medium-high to high heat. Brush the grates with oil.
Liberally season the patties with salt and pepper. Brush with oil. Place on the grill and sear about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let the burgers rest for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile toast the bun on the grill.
For serving, place each burger in a bun and top with feta cheese and pickled red onions. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.
Pickled Red Onions
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1-1/2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Put the onions in a large heat-proof bowl.
In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices. Bring to a boil, dissolving sugar.
Pour liquid over onions. Cover bowl with a small plate that can fit onto the surface of the onions. Let stand until cool. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. Transfer to a jar for storage. Pickled onions keep in the refrigerator for about 3 months.