If I haven’t said it before, I love lamb (and I love burgers). This Greek-inspired burger hits in all the right spots. The ground lamb is mixed with chopped Kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes, fresh oregano and garlic. I added a little optional twist of quick pickled cucumber because my mom always served vinegar soaked cucumbers with lamb to help cut through the richness of the meat… they work really well on with the flavors of the burger. With the all of this Greek-ness going on, it just wouldn’t be complete without some briny feta cheese stirred into a lemony aïoli topping.
Lamb and Olive Burgers with Lemony Feta Aïoli
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoon dried)
2 teaspoon chopped fresh mint (or 1 yeaspoon dried)
1/4 cup black olives – preferably Kalamata olives
1 tablespoon chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon blasamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Sliced beef steak tomato
Thinly sliced red onions
Quick Pickled Cucumbers (optional recipe below)
Lemony Feta Aïoli (recipe below)
Direct heat grilling
Loosely, yet thoroughly, toss together all of the burger ingredients in a large bowl. Divide the mixture and shape into four patties. Set aside in refrigerator until ready to grill.
Set up grill for direct cooking over high heat; brush and oil grill before cooking. Place burgers on hot grill and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side for medium.
Serve hot on pita bread with baby greens, tomatoes, red onion slivers, pickled cucumbers, and a dollop of Lemony Feta Aïoli.
Quick Pickled Cucumbers
1/2 hot house cucumber
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8th teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Slice the cucumber as thinly as possible and place in a non-reactive bowl. Stir together the remaining ingredients until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Pour over the cucumbers and let soak about an hour before serving
Lemony Feta Aïoli
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup good-quality mayonnaise
1/4 cup Greek-style yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced then creamed**
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl; stir together thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Best if made a couple hours ahead.
**  Pushing the garlic through a press is great. However, I don’t have one so I “creamed” the garlic – I finely mince the garlic, sprinkle it with a little kosher salt to act as an abrasive, and then use the side of the chef’s knife and press the garlic into a paste. This method really breaks down the garlic (like a press) so it blends into the aioli without any little pieces.
Cheers and Happy Grilling!