Monday, August 13, 2012

Sizzling Cumin Lamb Burgers

So as much as I would like to (and I would really like to), I can't take full credit for this recipe.  For the most part, the ingredient list comes from a Danny Bowien recipe in Bon Appetit.  But I took his recipe for braised lamb shoulder over ramen and modified it to make it into a burger because I was in a burger kind of mood and we had ground lamb rather than lamb shoulder in the freezer.  So I modified the proportions of the ingredients and tossed out the ingredients that I didn't think we needed and we made burgers.  And they were awesome burgers.  As you would expect from Danny Bowien, all of the flavors went together perfectly.  Another thing you should expect from Danny Bowien - there was a lot of heat in that cilantro salad.  We decided to go ahead with the cilantro salad as a topping on the burgers because it was kind of like the cilantro salad they serve with the steamed pork buns at Fatty Crab.  I was originally thinking maybe some sliced cucumber or some other combination of toppings, but decided to just modify Danny Bowien's ramen topping to make it into a burger topping.  Even with all of our modifications it was more of a composed dish than a lot of other recipes we have made recently.  Both Alex and I were huge fans of the burger.  Actually, Alex thinks it is the most successful dish we have made in awhile.  And for him to say that about a burger is HUGE.

P.S.  The reason I have been flooding the blog with posts is that I finally got a new memory card reader (mine broke) so I can upload the pictures of all of the dishes Alex and I made over the past few weeks and post the recipes.  We cooked a decent amount last week so I still have a few more posts to get up in order to catch up, but I am going to keep uploading pictures and plugging away until we are up to date!

Recipe after the jump!

Sizzling Cumin Lamb Burgers

For burgers:
1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted
1/2 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted
1/2 tbsp fennel seed, toasted
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 lb ground lamb
1 tsp vegetable oil
buns (we used Ozery Bakery OneBuns)
For toppings:
1/2 tablespoon olive oil plus more for brushing
Kosher salt
1 small red onion
1 red jalapeno
1 generous cup cilantro, tough stems removed, roughly chopped
1 scallion, thinly sliced on the bias
1 tbsp black vinegar
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
kosher salt

Coarsely grind spices in a mortar and pestle.  Combine 1 tbsp of spice mixture, salt, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil in a medium bowl.  Add ground lamb and stir to mix well.  Reserve remaining spice mixture. Let lamb marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Char onion and jalapeno over a grill/grill pan or over a gas stove top until softened and charred in spots, about 3 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  Once cool enough to handle, thinly slice the onion and the jalapenos.  If you want to eliminate some of the spice, remove the seeds from the jalapenos.

Combine cilantro, scallions, vinegar, sesame seeds, and charred red jalapeno in a non-reactive mixing bowl. Season to taste with some of remaining spice mixture and kosher salt.  Toss to combine. 

Form four equal sized burger patties with your hands.  Form a divot/indentation in the center of each burger to ensure that they stay flat once cooked and don't puff up into giant burger balls with peaks in the center.  Drizzle your hands and the exterior of the burger patties with vegetable oil.  Set aside.

Preheat a grill pan over moderately high heat.  Once the pan is hot, place burgers gently in the pan.  Cook, flipping once, about 2-3 minutes per side for medium.  Remove burgers from pan and set aside to cool for 2-3 minutes.  Assemble burgers on buns with cilantro salad and grilled onions.


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