Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Whoa. New favorite.

John and I just hosted an experimental "bar food" dinner party, serving a delicious trifecta of dishes: a secret recipe of chicken wings that John invented, homemade mozzarella sticks served with homemade marinara sauce, and mini Mediterranean lamb burgers. I was in charge of the lamb burgers, and scared up this sensational recipe for the burgers, and then we tapped the NYTimes's recipe for "How To Cook A Burger" for the cooking instructions.

Not gonna lie.

Holy shit. 

Basically I followed the recipe exactly, EXCEPT that I made them in miniature so they'd fit onto these adorable little mini-buns John bought at the grocery store, and we referred to this recipe for cooking instructions, because we were making them indoors in Brooklyn. Needless to say, our house still smells like a diner, which is a little intense, but is also kind of making me want another burger as I type... I've adapted Aida Mollenkamp's recipe to reflect my miniature status, but you could also revert back to full-sized if that suits your needs. Check her site for the original recipe as well as outdoor grill instructions...

**Look... I'm going to keep calling them "mini burgers" throughout this post because I just really can't tolerate the term "sliders". It's too freaking gross and too freaking literal. If ya don't like it, just say "slider" to yourself whenever I say "mini burger." So there!

Mediterranean-Spiced Lamb Burger Recipe

  • Makes: 8-12 servings
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Hands-On Time: 30 minutes


  • For the mayonnaise:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or plain, whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive tapenade (or finely chopped olives)
  • For the burgers:
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • 2 teaspoons grated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Vegetable oil, for the pan
  • To assemble:
  • 8-12 mini hamburger buns, sliced in half and toasted
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced into 4 rings
  • 1 handful baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • Optional: Add harissa to the bun as you assemble for a delicious zingy flavor. 


  • For the mayonnaise:
Place the mayonnaise and tapenade or olives in a medium bowl and mix to incorporate.
  • For the burgers:
Place all of the ingredients except the oil in a large bowl and, using your clean hands, mix until just combined. Split the meat into 8-12 equal portions and shape each piece into a patty that is 1/2-inch-thick, about 2" across or approximately the size of your mini burger buns.
Using your thumb, make a 1-inch-wide indentation in the center of each patty in order to help the burgers cook more evenly.
Add oil to a cast iron pan and heat to medium on the stove. 
Increase heat under pan to high as you place the hamburger patties. Put each hamburger into the pan with plenty of distance between them and allow them to cook, without moving, for approximately 2 minutes. Use a spatula to gently turn the burgers over. 
Continue to cook until the meat is cooked through, approximately another 3 minutes for medium-rare. Remove the hamburgers from the cast iron pan and allow to sit for a few minutes before you inhale them. 
  • To assemble:
Spread about 1/4 tablespoon of the mayonnaise on each bun top and then spread an equal dollop of harissa onto each bun top. Divide red onions and thinly cucumber slices amongst burger roll bottoms, top with a patty, then garnish each with arugula and feta. Top with the bun and serve immediately. The mini version is pretty messy. In hindsight, I think stabbing it with a toothpick wouldn't have been a bad idea, but we opted to devour in one to two bites instead. 

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