Hellenic Lamb Burgers with Eggplant Feta Salad

I couldn’t believe the response my kids had to this burger. I’ll have to make it again just to make sure it’s legitimate. I served it up with some local naan that a friend gave me for my birthday – and it was really good. Toasted pita pockets would also be good – but skip a bready bun. It’s too much for this tasty guy. Italicized comments are my own.

Hellenic Lamb Burgers with Eggplant Feta Salad
from The Big Burger Book, Jane Murphy and Liz Yeh Singh

1 pound ground lamb
1/2 medium size onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves This is why I LOVE having a backyard herb garden. If you don’t have one – grab a pot and get going!
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves Chop extra – you need an additional teaspoon for the eggplant salad. 
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Thoroughly knead all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until smooth, about 5 minutes. It didn’t take that long for this to come together – about 3 minutes max for me. It’s sticky. Form into 4 patties, each 1/2 inch thick.
2. Lightly oil the grill or a skillet over medium heat and cook the burgers to the desired degree of done-ness, about 5 minutes per side for medium. I used a skillet; probably overcooked them a bit because I was slow finishing the eggplant salad. 
Serve it up on toasted ciabatta bread or in toasted pita pockets. I used naan. Yum. 
Top it off with Eggplant Feta Salad (below)

Eggplant Feta Salad
I really liked this – not as big of a hit with the kids. It was raining, so I used two grill pans inside to fit all the veggies in. Don’t forget to make the balsamic reduction – an extra 5 minutes, but it makes a difference. And buy your feta in brick form rather than already crumbled. It’s a game changer.

1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
1 medium size zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
1 large red onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and coarsely ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 scallions (white and green partly, thinly sliced) Skipped this – time sensitive. Sometimes those kids want to eat. 
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced in a small saucepan over medium heat to 1/4 cup I would recommend doing this FIRST – then you don’t have a delay and a “oh crap” moment right before you feed your starving family. 

1. Place the eggplant, zucchini, and onion on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. I skipped the sheet and did this in a bowl – then used my hands to mix the oil and seasoning to coat as evenly as possible.
2. When ready to cook, lightly oil the grill or a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the vegetables until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes for the eggplant, 10 minutes for the onion. Turn often. Note – if you’re using the grill pan inside, don’t turn immediately – let the pan char and sear the veggies a bit.
3. Transfer the vegetables to a large serving bowl. Add the feta and scallions and mix. Sprinkle with the thyme and drizzle with the vinegar reduction before serving.


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