For over a decade, the traditional caprese flavor combo has been a favorite in our household. It doesn’t matter if it’s the straight-up caprese salad or it’s baked counterpart on a margherita pizza, there is an unmistakably wonderful balance of fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and sliced tomatoes drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with salt and fresh cracked pepper, that we crave regularly.
With those cravings, we went on a summer dinner adventure to figure out a creative way to make that combo into a burger. There was a robust discussion on the type of protein (beef, pork, lamb, or chicken – we chose lamb) and whether to double the basil punch (which I did with aioli and more fresh basil). In the end, our goal was to create a yummy burger that we could add to our meal rotation.
We appreciate the flavor of lamb and have enjoyed making ground lamb burgers for years. It is a leaner alternative to the standard beef burger and doesn’t leave me feeling so stuffed when I’m done eating it. There is also a gaminess to the lamb that pairs well with strong flavors – like bright tomato, mozzarella and a fresh/bold aioli from the basil/garlic combo, respectively; or with an olive tapenade, tomato and goat cheese (oh wait, that’s a different recipe.). Either way, you can tell that a lamb burger won’t last long in our house.
I’m beginning to think that people in my town have learned the secret of the tatsy ground lamb as well. In the last few weeks, I’ve had ground lamb on my list for every weekly grocery run with no luck. I’m picturing my city is a town people enjoying lamb burgers and I am not afraid to admit that I’m a bit jealous that I’m not one of them.
As you can see from the above photo, we busted out the fresh aioli base and ground some basil into it, sliced up some tomatoes, fired up the grill, and dinner was on its way.
Our end goal was accomplished with creating a flavorful burger and enjoying the evening with great conversation.
And again…as I write this I’m looking forward to making another round of these burgers. Hope that the grocers restock the lamb soon!
Caprese Lamb Burger
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1 tsp fresh savory, chopped (can sub a thyme and tarragon combo if do not have savory)
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling
- Fresh cracked pepper
- Sprinkle of onion powder
- Fresh mozzarella, sliced into rounds
- Tomato slices, heirloom or bushel boy
- Basil aioli
- Toasted brioche buns
- Fresh basil leaves, optional
In a large bowl, break up the lamb gently with a fork. Add the savory, worchestershire, kosher salt, fresh cracker pepper and using the same fork, combine into the ground lamb.
Form into three 1/3 pound patties and sprinkle lightly with onion powder and a touch more salt. Let stand for 10 mins.
Heat grill to medium-high heat. If your grill has a temperature gauge, shoot for 500° or more and make sure all grates are hot. Place patties on the grill and wait 3-4 minutes before flipping. The burger should release from the grill – that is shen it is ready. Grill another 3-4 minutes on second side. If grill flames up during grilling, lower temperature a bit and rotate burgers around.
Top each burger with a large slice fresh mozzarella and grill for 1-2 minutes until cheese is slightly melted. While cheese is melting, butter buns and toast on the grill slightly.
Compose burger with grilled & toasted buns, basil aioli on top and bottom buns, place tomatoes slices on bottom, burger on top of that and extra fresh basil, if you would like.
*Experimental Spoon Original.