Lamb and Feta Burger
with arugula and watermelon salad
The real star tonight is the eggplant and red pepper pesto that will be used in two meals this week. The smoky flavors of roasted bell pepper and eggplant are a great match with lamb. This meal was first featured in 2014.
Lamb and Feta Burger:
- Mint, fresh - 6 leaves , chopped
- Lamb, ground - 1 1/4 lbs
- Cheese, feta - 2 oz , crumbled
- Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp
- Paprika - 1/2 tsp
- Salt - 1/2 tsp
- Pepper - 1/4 tsp
- Hamburger buns - 4
- Lettuce, romaine - 2 outer leaves , torn
- Eggplant and Red Pepper Pesto (ingredients listed separately) - ~1 cup
Roasted Eggplant and Red Pepper Walnut Pesto (for 2 nights):
- Bell peppers, red - 3
- Eggplants, Chinese or Japanese - 1 1/2 lbs (substitute Italian eggplant)
- Garlic - 3 cloves
- Walnuts - 1/4 cup
- Lemon juice - 1 Tbsp
Arugula, Watermelon, and Feta Salad:
- Watermelon (opt) - 2 cups , cubed
- Maple syrup - 2 tsp
- Vinegar, balsamic - 1 Tbsp
- Oil, cooking - 3 Tbsp
- Arugula - 4 oz
- Cheese, feta - 2 oz , crumbled
- Roast vegetables - (This makes enough for 2 nights.) Fire up the grill or turn on the oven’s broiler. Core stem out of peppers. Pierce eggplants all over with a fork. Brush peppers and eggplants with some cooking oil. Place over direct heat on the grill or broil on a sheet pan for 6 minutes each side. When peppers are charred and eggplants are soft, place them in a mixing bowl and cover with a plate to help steam off skins. When cool enough to handle, scrape flesh out of eggplants and peel skins off of red peppers. (Discard skins.) This video shows you how to roast peppers. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Make pesto - Combine flesh of eggplants, peppers, garlic, and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until everything is combined and smooth. Finish with lemon juice and taste to season with some salt and pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Make lamb patties - Chop mint. Mix ground lamb with mint, crumbled cheese (portion for burgers), garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Divide into 3” / 7.5 cm wide and 3/4” / 2 cm thick patties. Cover and refrigerate if not grilling within 30 minutes. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- Watermelon - Cube watermelon.
- If cooking on the grill: Heat grill to 500F / 260C degrees. Brush grill grates with some cooking oil and then place patties over direct heat. Grill on opposite sides for ~4 minutes each with cover closed. Continue cooking until lamb reaches 160F / 71C degrees.
- If cooking on the stovetop: Heat a skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush pan with some oil and then place patties on heated oil. Sear on each side for ~2 minutes. Reduce heat and continue cooking until lamb reaches 160F / 71C degrees.
- Toast hamburger buns.
- Transfer burger patties to a plate and let rest, covered, for 5 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together maple syrup and vinegar. Add oil while whisking. Top with arugula, crumbled cheese (portion for salad), and watermelon. Toss gently to combine.
- If pesto has been made ahead and refrigerated, reheat it briefly in the microwave. (Remember to reserve half for Tuesday.)
- Tear lettuce into pieces.
- Assemble burgers with pesto, patties, and lettuce. Enjoy with salad on the side.