Lamb Burgers and Tomato Salad

One of the reasons that I stopped blogging for as long as I did was that I felt like I was starting to repeat myself. How many times could I tell you about making cavatappi with sun-dried tomatoes? Or how I roast a chicken?

Now, on this new-ish iteration of the blog (where my m.o. is to be much more casual about the whole thing), I find myself repeatedly talking about Cookbook in Echo Park. It’s where I do most of my grocery shopping and it’s pretty much the best food store I’ve ever been to anywhere. Look what I saw when I walked in there yesterday…

If that doesn’t make you want to do a cartwheel, I don’t know what would.

Craig had only one request for dinner: “Some protein.” I’d made spaghetti Carbonara the night before, and he ate the leftovers for lunch, so he was feeling those Carbonara carbs.

At Cookbook, I eyed the meat case and saw ground lamb. My eye traveled up and I saw buns. That’s when I had an idea: “Lamb burgers!”

I looked up a recipe — Anne Burrell’s did the trick — got the ingredients I needed (lamb, buns, yogurt, Feta, mint, dill) and also grabbed some heirloom tomatoes, because now is the time to eat tomatoes with everything.

Here’s how easy this dinner was: when I got home, first thing I did was heat some olive oil in a non-stick skillet and while that was heating, I diced a red onion and threw that in, and then chopped two cloves of garlic and when the onion was soft (oh I added salt to it), I added the garlic and let that cook a little too.

I scooped all of that into a large bowl and let it cool.

Meanwhile, I made the tzaziki topping: mixed Greek yogurt with lots of crumbled Feta (the good stuff), lots of chopped mint and dill, lemon zest, and a splash of white wine vinegar. Oh: added salt and Aleppo pepper too.

Finally, in another bowl, I cut the tomatoes into chunks and tossed them with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, some more of the Feta, and some more of those herbs.

Then all I had to do was make the burgers.

To the cooled onions and garlic, I added the pound of ground lamb, added a big pinch of salt, some more lemon zest and herbs, and — the most surprising ingredient of all (per Anne Burrell’s recipe): water! About 1/4 cup.

I lightly mixed all of that together and formed four loose patties which I sprinkled with even more salt (salt on the outside makes ’em extra tasty).

In the same skillet that I cooked the onions (a Scanpan), I wiped out the onion bits and put the skillet on high heat. When it was nice and hot, I added the burgers and let them sit, undisturbed, for three – four minutes. When they were nice and charred on the bottom, I flipped them.

Then I kept them cooking like that until a thermometer showed an internal temperature of 125, which is exactly medium rare.

I moved them to a plate, let them rest for five minutes, and then put them on buns with lots of the tzaziki on top, tomatoes on the side.

This dinner was such a huge hit. I can always tell it’s a success when Craig gets a conspiratorial look on his face, like: “Oh my God, I can’t believe how good this is.”

So give it a shot! And if you live in L.A. and need a place to do your food shopping, have I mentioned Cookbook? (I swear, they should pay me a commission.)