Sunday, March 28, 2010

Out Like a Lion

Biscuit the Lioness

I don’t know if spring came in like a lamb or a lion this year. In Seattle, the spring weather has been changing drastically by the day! One day it’s a record breaking heat wave with shorts and flip flops, and the next its 48 degrees, grey, and pouring. All I know is that I’m stoked for spring to be here, especially with the abundance of tasty, fresh treats it brings! With spring comes many food-related wonders: ham at Easter, fresh asparagus, flower shaped sugar cookies, colorful eggs, lamb…wait, lamb!?

Yep, that’s right. Apparently lamb is the very definition of spring for some people. Some people just can’t get enough of the stuff. I however, am not one of those people. Until I started dating Evan, I had never tried lamb. Then, the first family event I went to with him, I was horrified. The main course… was lamb. Cute, fuzzy, white, little lamb. I tried the smallest of all small bites. The next time I went, I tried a bigger bite. I eventually got to the point where I tasted his lamb and beef gyro at Aladdin’s Gyro Hut. But alas, that’s about as far as that went. With the strong, unfamiliar, gamey flavor, and pictures of darling little fuzzy wuzzies in my head, I couldn’t get past just a bite or two.

As someone who professes to love food, I think this might be a big no-no. Lamb. I mean… chefs and foodies alike love that shit. Last summer, shortly after I started this little blog, a friend asked if I wanted to have food challenges on my blog… like say, a friendly competition, or people proposing a secret ingredient—Iron Chef style—for me to turn into something awesome. His challenge, however, was lamb. I sat on it. I sat on it for almost a year. Until a few days ago, when Food 52 also challenged me with lamb.

There comes a time in every young woman’s life when she must rise to the occasion, and take the challenge. The lamb challenge. I stood up, put on my armor, drew my sword, and looked my challenger in its’ cute fuzzy little face, and then I kicked it’s fleecy, white-as-snow ass. Presenting: the mythical and glorious Perseus Burger.

Perseus was a mythic hero of Greek mythology famed for defeating various monsters of epic proportions. Up until a few nights ago, lamb was my monster. This Greek-inspired lamb burger is sort of an intro course into cooking and eating lamb... it's simple, and has a lot of amazing flavors that meld together to ease even the wariest of lamb-eaters through their first or second lamb experience. Mixed with ground beef, herbs, and spices, and topped with zingy tzatziki, the lamb actually tastes…good! It’s juicy and not over-powering in flavor, but really does have more depth than a solid beef burger. Evan says he’ll never go back to ‘normal burgers.’ I’ve created a new monster.

With the Perseus Burger in your line-up you can take down any beast, be it lamb or lion.

Perseus Burgers
Serves 4-6

1 pound ground lamb
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 minced garlic clove
1/2 cup finely diced onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1.5 teaspoons Hyssop*
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika (not sweet)
4-6 tablespoons crumbled feta
olive oil
4-6 buns (I used ciabatta type rolls)
Tzatziki sauce (recipe below)
sliced tomato, red onion, fresh spinach, and sliced black olives for garnish

Mix together lamb, beef, onion, garlic, parsley, hyssop, oregano, paprika, and s&p until well combined. (*Israeli Hyssop is an herb that is mixed into a powdery blend w/olive oil, sesame seeds, and often other spices. I got this Olia brand hyssop from a friend! )

Separate meat mixture into 4-6 balls, depending on how big you and your guests want the burgers (I made one biggun, 2 medium, and 2 small.) To stuff with feta: flatten into a pretty flat oblong shape, and add about a tablespoon of feta to half. Fold the other half over, squish to seal the edges, and flatten to desired patty flatness. I like mine more patty shaped, less ball shaped. Put patties on plate, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with a pinch more hyssop, paprika, s&p.

Light BBQ and brush grill with olive oil. Grill burgers, turning once, for about 10 minutes total- until desired doneness. Grill buns. On bottom half of bun, make a bed of spinach and olives for burger, add burger, and top with red onion, tomato, and tzatziki! Savor your first delicious bite, because you just showed that lamb who's boss!

1/2 seedless cucumber- peeled
2 cloves garlic- minced
1 teaspoon each salt & pepper
1 teaspoon paprika (not sweet)
1/2-3/4 cup crumbled feta
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tablespoons chopped mint
juice from half a lemon

Grate cucumber and squeeze out then discard excess liquid. Whisk to combine all ingredients. Serve with delicious lamburgers and Greek fries!
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