Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Lamb Burger

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

Michael Psilakis' Lamb Burger might not be a traditional burger, but it is one awesome sandwich. The burger consists of a 70/30 mix of ground lamb and pork seasoned with charred onions, fresh parsley, and dill, Dijon mustard, ground fennel, coriander, and cumin. The combination of meats and the intense combination of flavoring elements make for a burger that can truly stand alone. And when I say alone, I mean alone. Cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, or any type of burger condiment would be superfluous—the patty is juicy enough to carry the weight of any bun.

When I made them at home I was a bit concerned about the fact that I was unable to find the caul fat called for in the recipe. My fear was that the perfectly spiced patties would fall to pieces in the pan without the support of the casing. I decided to form the burgers early in the day, give them a chance to rest in the fridge, and hope for the best.

My plan worked—the patties held their shape like a dream. I cooked them to medium rare and placed them on toasted brioche buns. I had made up a batch of Htipiti, or Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Spread, from How to Roast a Lamb to go along with the burgers, but I decided to keep it on the side in hopes of experiencing the lamb burger in it's purest form.

The first bite was amazing: juicy, intensely spiced, and cooked to a medium rare that had nothing to do with a beef burger medium rare. There was a textural softness to this burger that was totally unexpected and quite elegant. On the outside it looked like a big daunting burger, but on the inside it was rich and almost light. All of the flavors came through without being overpowering, particularly the finely chopped grilled onions that added a sweetness to the mix.

Win How to Roast a Lamb

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of How to Roast a Lamb to give away this week.

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