“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” — unknown origin (falsely attributed to Mark Twain)
Mark Twain may not have been the one to actually say it, but that doesn’t make it less true: it is COLD in San Francisco in the summer. Thankfully, Berkeley runs about ten degrees warmer, but tomorrow (Memorial Day) is looking to not even break 70 here, and stay below 60 across the Bay. Puts a little damper on cooking out, to be sure.
I made these lamb burgers in warmer, happier times (last week), grilling outdoors with a glass of wine in my hand. I imagine they would be *close* to as good if pan-fried, making them a good indoor/outdoor Memorial Day option, for those of you in warmer climes and for those of you, like me, staring at the gray sky outside our windows and wearing scarves indoors in May.
Lamb — particularly when mixed with mint, cinnamon, and paprika — makes a nice change from the regular burger, with very little additional work. Ground lamb is a little more expensive than ground beef, especially because you’ll actually have to buy quality ground lamb, as opposed to styrofoam backed pre-made patties that came from God-only-knows what part of the cow. But it’s still only about $10 for 1 1/2 lb. of meat — a bargain compared to chops.
No need to have buns for these; just cram all the fixings — burger, spinach, feta, grilled veggies — in a (toasted) pita and call it a day. I made the burgers on the small side, so you could more easily fit two in a pita; you can make them bigger if you want. Set up a little buffet line, put out some ouzo (or some IPA), and you’re all set.
Or, for those who want something a little more traditional, and a little more aorta bursting, take a look at last year’s Memorial Day post, the perennially popular Butter Burger.
Greek Lamb Burgers
Serves 3 – 4
Adapted from Bon Appetit
– 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
– 2 teaspoons paprika
– 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
– 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
– 4 pita (whole-wheat or regular), the top cut off and the inside hollowed out, warmed up
– 1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
– 1 1/3 cups crumbled feta chees
– 1 red onion, sliced in medium slices
– 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
– veggies for grilling (peppers, eggplant, zucchini, etc), cut up to desired size
1. Mix mint, paprika, cinnamon, and salt with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in medium bowl; mix in lamb. Shape into a bunch (10?) small-sized patties.
2. Mix vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
3. Heat grill; cook patties and veggies on grill until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side (I think) for the burgers. (Or, you can pan fry the burgers and veggies, for about 4 minutes per side as well.)
4. Toss spinach, feta, vinegar, and 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in bowl. Put onion slices in a small bowl alongside.
5. Assemble pitas: Put one or two burgers in a pita, along with some veggies, and a good stuffing of salad. Opa!