Ted Allen's Mini Lamb Burgers with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

August 06 2007 - 6:55 PM

Ted Allen prepared a couple of dishes from his cookbook at the Mondavi Crush in the City event this past weekend. Here are the recipes reprinted with permission.

Mini Lamb burgers with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Paired with Robert Mondavi Private Selection Vinetta

If you love hamburgers, but feel like you need something just a little
different, a little more interesting—if you’re in a hamburger
rut—here’s your answer. The ultimate burger for me is actually a lambburger, made with ground lamb from the leg (call it a lamburghini, if it pleases you).

For those who are not bouncy castle fans of lamb, you can always use beef. The secret
to a great burger is to press the patties together gently, without
overly compacting the meat, so it retains a tender texture.

Serves 8 (16 as mini burgers)

3 pounds ground lamb

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon tiny (“non pareil”) capers

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (from 2 large lemons)

4 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 hamburger buns

Cucumber Yogurt Salad

8 large slices tomato

the lamb, garlic, capers, parsley, lemon zest, mustard, salt, and
pepper in a medium bowl and work the seasonings into the lamb with a
spoon or your hands. Form gently into 8 patties (or 16 small
patties)—don’t pack the meat too tightly.

a gas grill to medium-high. Brush the grill grate well with a grill
brush. Drizzle a wad of paper towels with oil and use a pair of tongs
to clean the grate with it as well.

Brown the burgers on the hot side of the grill for about 2 minutes on
each side; move them off the heat immediately if they begin to flame.
Then move the burgers onto the cooler side of the grill and cook
another 2 minutes for medium-rare, 3 to 4 minutes for medium.

the buns and put them on the cooler side of the grill and grill until
lightly browned on both sides, about 30 seconds each side.

To serve, put a burger in each bun, add a few spoonfuls of the yogurt salad, put a slice of tomato on top, and close the bun.

Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Makes about 2 cups

1 English cucumber (the long skinny ones wrapped in plastic)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups yogurt, preferably thick, Greek yogurt (see Note)

2 sprigs fresh dill, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

the cucumber and cut it in half lengthwise. Then use a spoon to scoop
out the seeds from both halves. Grate the cucumber on the wide holes of
a grater, put it in a colander in the sink and sprinkle with the salt.
Let drain for about 20 minutes, then press with your hands to get rid
of some of the moisture. Stir the grated cucumber into the yogurt along
with the dill, cumin, if using, and pepper. Spoon into a serving bowl
and serve cold, drizzled with about 1 teaspoon oil.

Greek cow’s or sheep’s milk yogurt, sold at many specialty shops, is a
completely different yogurt than the stuff you’re probably used to.
It’s very thick, very creamy (even the low-fat varieties), and very
good. It’s worth the hunt.