Show of Hands

Show of hands: Who here is excited about the three-day weekend?

Are you ready to stand over the grill flipping burgers, hungry friends gathered alongside? To don your shades and take a bike ride under the blazing sunshine?

To watch baseball, the ultimate warm-weather sport? To spend the first of many weekends poolside? To see the Sex and the City sequel, no matter how terrible the trailer looked?

Yeah…that’s what I thought. Me too! I’m so excited, in fact, that I can’t find the right words to describe this perfect recipe for the impending three-day weekend, a perfect Memorial Day burger, a Greek-flavored but still all-American meal. You know, the one that you just have to make at the cookout you’ll be hosting this weekend. (Or, really, on your stovetop anytime you please, because finding respite from the heat under blasting air-conditioning screams “it’s the beginning of summer!” too.) I hope, though, that these snapshots urge you to make lamb burgers this holiday weekend. You won’t regret it.

Serves 4
Adapted from Gourmet

– 1 lb. ground lamb
– 1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
– 1/4 cup onion, minced
– 1/4 cup instant oats (Note: You can easily use old-fashioned oats that have been ground in a food processor or coffee grinder)
– 1 egg, lightly beaten
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 1/2 tsp. black pepper
– 1/4 tsp. allspice
– 1/4 tsp. cumin
– 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
– 4 burger buns or split flatbread
– sliced tomato, for topping
– spinach or mesclun, for topping
Yogurt Sauce
– 1 cup plain yogurt, regular or Greek
– 4 Tbsp. fresh mint, minced (divided)
– 2 Tbp. fresh dill, minced
– 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
– 1 clove garlic, minced

1) In a small bowl, mix together yogurt, dill, lemon juice, garlic, and 2 Tbsp. mint. (The rest can be reserved as a burger topping.) Cover and refrigerate yogurt sauce for at least one hour, so flavors have time to meld.
2) To a medium bowl, add parsley, onion, and egg, mixing until thoroughly combined; stir in cumin, allspice, salt and pepper. Add lamb, oats and feta (if using), mixing very gently; overworking the meat makes for tough burgers.
3) Shape lamb mixture into four evenly-sized patties. Fire up the grill—or cook burgers inside in a heavy skillet or griddle, coated with a tablespoon of oil. Cook 5-7 minutes, flipping once, until burgers are browned but still slightly pink at center.
4) Assemble burgers on flatbread or buns, layering with sliced tomatoes, greens and reserved mint, and a generous helping of yogurt sauce. Dig in!

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