Lamb Burgers with Parsley Aioli

Lamb is a natural with the red wines of Ribera del Duero—it’s almost impossible to visit the region without tasting lechazo asado (roast suckling lamb). Swapping the usual beef burgers for lamb is a nod to that classic dish. Use the leftover parsley sauce as a salad dressing or a dip for veggies.

Serves 4

2 large beefsteak tomatoes
2 lbs. ground lamb
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
4 hamburger buns
Parsley aioli (recipe below)

Slice two 1/4″ thick slices from the middle of each tomato; set aside. Grate the remaining tomato flesh on a box grater, discarding the skin. In a large bowl, mix grated tomato and lamb well with your hands. Divide lamb mixture into 8 equal-sized balls and flatten slightly. Salt and pepper the lamb patties generously on all sides. Set aside until ready to cook.

In a large, preferably cast-iron, skillet or griddle over medium-high heat, coat with oil and when it just starts to smoke, add burgers. Using a flat spatula without holes or grates, smash each burger as thinly as possible (they should end up about 4″ diameter). Cook without moving them until the bottom is deeply browned and crusty, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook 90 seconds on the other side.

Assemble burgers in the following order: bottom bun, cucumbers, burger, tomato, burger, parsley aioli, top bun.

Parsley Aioli

½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ packed cup parsley, minced
1 clove garlic, grated or minced
¼ teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients, adding more salt to taste if necessary. Refrigerate at least an hour, and up to 3 days.

WINE PAIRING: You can’t go wrong with lamb and Ribera, but a fruitier and less oak-dominant style also pairs well with the freshness of the tomato, cucumber and parsley aioli. Look for Bodegas Tionio Austum Eco Cosecha, Bodegas Viña Solorca Cosecha or Bodegas Valdubón Tempranillo.

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