A few weeks ago, Aunt Becky suggested that I try cooking lamb sliders. She is full of great ideas; and high expectations for my cooking abilities. The grill needed firing up anyways and the weather is warmer (though more humid in our part of the world). Thinking about my upcoming trip to Europe brought a Mediterranean theme to mind. After browsing around on foodnetwork.com, I decided upon sliders and my own take on their Mediterranean Salad.
In all, I was pleasantly surprised by this food experiment. Several times I got lucky with timing. Typically, bad things tend to happen when I forget about food on the grill or in the oven (oops!). However, the timing on each close call somehow turned out to be just right. Why doesn't this happen more often?!
Serves 5 (the recipe can easily be doubled for 10 servings)
Lamb burger Ingredients:
1-1.5lbs thawed ground lamb
1 package of onion soup mix
1/4 cup of crumbled light feta cheese
1 minced (seeded) jalapeno
10 chopped fresh sweet mint leaves
5-7 chopped fresh sweet basil leaves
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients. Though this may seem strange to some, it's easiest by far to just use your hands.
Once the ground lamb is well mixed with the other ingredients, press it into small patties. The size and thickness of the patties will depend upon your personal preferences and the size of the buns/rolls you want to use. Take into account that the patties will shrink while cooking. After the patties have been formed, place them onto the grill. Because I don't like cleaning my grill very often, we placed them onto a sheet of thick foil centered over the burners. One of these days I will get better about watching the time while cooking... until then, grill the patties until they develop a nice brown/carmel color on the outside. The sliders were plenty juicy cooked to medium-well.
As a side note, remember that the patties will continue cooking a little more once they have been removed from the grill - especially if they have been removed and then placed in a warm location (i.e. inside an oven, next to something hot on the stove, etc.).
Feel free to experiment with the other components. The ingredients listed under "Fixings" made a delicious lamb slider.
Fresh mini kaiser role (serving suggestion: try lightly toasting them)
Fresh baby spinach
*Baked herbed tomatos (see recipe below)
1/2 teaspoon herbed olive oil (drizzled over the bottom half of the kaiser roll)
*Baked Herbed Tomatoes (I used what I had, so there are definitely ways to improve this recipe)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Dice 3 larger tomatoes and place them evenly onto a greased cookie sheet (Pam with olive oil works great). Cherry tomatoes would be even easier and might provide more intense flavor. They would also be great for snacking! Or delicious on salads! Hmm... I just made a mental note of that. Back to the recipe: sprinkle to taste with dried oregano and basil, garlic salt, and cracked pepper. Bake on 350 for about 20-25 minutes or until a lot of the moisture has been cooked out. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a mozzarella and parmesan blend of shredded cheese. Return the tomatoes to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes or so. Once the cheese is slightly toasted (not burnt), remove from the oven.
One guest brought over fresh asparagus so he drizzled fresh lemon juice over them with a little salt and pepper. They were then placed on foil and grilled for about 15 minutes. They require a longer cooking time than the lamb patties.
The picture below doesn't even come close to doing the sliders justice. Needless to say, all 7 of us cleaned our plates.