I’ve always been a big fan of rack of lamb, leg of lamb, lamb chops. Roasted or pan-seared lamb is just one of the best things ever. But it’s only been in the last year that I discovered lamb burgers. Part of that has been due to the fact that my local food store, Adams Fairacre Farms, has been sourcing its lamb from the Hudson Valley (Josef Meiller Farm in Pine Plains). Before that, the only ground lamb I ever saw in supermarkets was an unsettling light pink and looked like it had been put through an angel-hair pasta extruder. The lamb I get at Adams is freshly ground by their butchers each day. And the burgers? Forget beef burgers of any ilk—my favorite burger now, hands down, is made from lamb.
Sometimes I gently work in flavorings before making the patties—rosemary, oregano, garlic, lemon zest—you can take it in any direction you like but honestly, locally sourced lamb has such phenomenal flavor that it’s kind of a shame to monkey with it. And most important of all, don’t overcook it—to me, medium-rare is the place to be and it only takes about 3 to 4 minutes per side over medium-high to high heat to get you there. The grill works great, whether gas or charcoal, but so does a cast iron pan on the stove. Just let the dry pan get super hot; put in just a bit of oil to coat the bottom, then the burgers—you’ll get a fabulous brown crust.
For topping, I prefer a mild cheese, like mozzarella, which delivers the gooey cheese experience but doesn’t get in the way of the lamb. Then, a slice of tomato, if I can find a good one, and I am beyond happy.