March 1, 2009
Petite Lamb Burgers with Red Wine Onions
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Serves 8 as an appetizer; 4 as a main course
Woodinville Wine Country, just 15 miles outside of Seattle, is the perfect place to escape the city and spend the weekend wine touring, tasting, and relaxing. Barking Frog restaurant, conveniently located next door to the super-luxurious Willows Lodge, is a big part of the region’s success. Barking Frog has brought home awards for “Most Innovative Wine List” and “Washington Wine First” from the venerable Washington Wine Commission. In keeping with the wine, dishes on Chef Bobby Moore’s menu are earthy and full-flavored. The photo above is of him and me signing Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining and serving his famous Lamb Burgers to the happy guests at Barking Frog. Lamb Burgers make an intriguing alternative to beef burgers, with the added attraction of a peppery bite from the toasted mustard seed. A Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon will bring out the best in these toothsome packets of pleasure.
Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise
3 to 4 cloves roasted garlic, finely chopped to a smooth paste measuring 2 teaspoons
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of ground white pepper, to taste
1/4 cup homemade or prepared mayonnaise (Best Foods or Hellmann’s brand preferred)
Red Wine Onions
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
Petite Lamb Burgers
1 pound lean ground lamb
1/2 cup minced white or yellow onion
1/4 cup mustard seed, toasted (See Cook’s Hint, below)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 small dinner rolls (about 2-inch diameter), cut in half and toasted
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) grated Gruyère cheese
1. To make the Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise, in a small bowl, stir the garlic, lemon juice, and white pepper into the mayonnaise. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
2. To make the Red Wine Onions, in a small saucepan, bring the vinegar, wine, and sugar to a simmer. Place the onions in a small nonreactive mixing bowl and pour the hot liquid over the onions, making sure all the onions are submerged in the liquid. Cool to room temperature and set aside.
3. For the Lamb Burgers, in a medium mixing bowl, combine the lamb, onion, mustard seed, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
4. Divide the meat into 8 equal portions and form into patties about the same diameter as the dinner rolls you will serve them on. Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the burgers without crowding, cooking in batches if needed, until browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side; then reduce heat to medium-low and cook until they reach the desired doneness, turning once or twice, 4 to 5 minutes more.
5. To serve, spread 1 to 2 teaspoons of the garlic mayonnaise on the bottom half of each roll and top with about 1 tablespoon of the drained onions. Place the burgers over the onions, sprinkle the cheese on the burgers, and top with the remaining roll halves. Serve warm.
Cook’s Hint: To toast mustard seed, place the seeds in a small skillet (with a lid) over medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until the seeds begin to pop. Cover with the lid, remove from the heat, and allow to cool.