Friday, June 06, 2014

Lamburgers with Feta and Roasted Tomatoes

I used to be much better about planning meals, but that was before the distraction of writing books and then promoting said books. Now the weekend gets here before I've even had the first notion of what I plan to cook. And we can't go out to dinner every night. Ok, we could, but even good restaurant food gets tiring after a while.

If I'm able, I run to the grocery store on Saturday afternoon and pick up something to cook that night. My brother had been torturing me earlier in the week by discussing what to do with a pound of ground lamb, so the meat department was the first place I headed. Fortunately, the Giant usually does have ground lamb. I also picked up a pint of cherry tomatoes because I wanted to roast them. (After the first time we tried it at home, I became a bit obsessed.) As for cheese, I thought feta would be nice, but the feta I had was pre-crumbled and might fall off the burger. I solved that problem by cementing it down onto the burger with a slab of fresh mozzarella cheese. The mozz had a delicate enough flavor as to not take away from the saltiness underneath.

Note: I bought my harissa powder at MOM's Organic Market. You can use homemade or premade, or even harissa paste. Only you know how spicy you like your food, so season according to your palate. My harissa was only mildly hot and somewhat salty, so 2 teaspoons worked well. YMMV.

Lamburgers with Feta and Roasted Tomatoes

For the burgers:
1 lb ground lamb
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons harissa powder
Salt and pepper

For the roasted tomatoes:
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
Olive oil
Large pinch salt
10-12 mint leaves, torn into small pieces
3 basil leaves, torn into small pieces

For the mayo:
1/4 preserved lemon, rinsed and finely chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon harissa powder

To assemble the burgers:
Olive oil
Crumbled feta cheese
Fresh mozzarella cheese
Potato rolls
Lettuce leaves

To make the burgers: Combine the lamb, garlic, and harissa. Season with salt and pepper. Form into four patties. Refrigerate until ready to cook.

To  make the tomatoes: Preheat oven to 350F. Place the tomatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast tomatoes for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until they have collapsed and are soft. Remove from oven and allow to come to room temperature.

Place cooled tomatoes in a bowl and crush with the back of a fork. Stir in the mint and basil. Drizzle with more olive oil and re-season to taste.

To make the mayo: Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble burgers: Heat a couple teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the burgers. Cook about 4 minutes per side, flipping once. Top the burgers with a heaping tablespoon of feta cheese, then drape a thin slice of fresh mozzarella over top. Cover pan and cook until mozz is melted.

Serve on potato rolls with lemon harissa mayo, lettuce, and a big spoonful of the roasted tomatoes.

Serves 2-4.

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