This alternative to hamburgers makes a great light meal when served with a side salad. Also excellent as a cocktail party hors d’oeuvre.
1 pound ground lamb
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large shallot, finely diced (about three tablespoons)
1 clove garlic, minced (about one teaspoon)
1 tablespoon ketchup
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chiffonade cut mint
8 small hamburger or slider buns, such as King’s Hawaiian, halved and toasted
Lemon-Mint Aïoli (recipe follows)
8 slices Swiss or Gruyère cheese
8 leaves lettuce, cut to size
8 tomato slices
For the aïoli:
1 cup good-quality mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup chiffonade cut mint
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Combine all the aïoli ingredients in a small bowl and reserve. (This also makes a nice salad dressing or can be served atop vegetables.)
Place a grill pan over medium-low heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill.
Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until the shallots are soft, about three minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and cool.
Combine the shallot mixture, lamb, cumin, ketchup, crushed red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Form the mixture into eight patties each 2 1/2 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick, about 2 1/2 to 3 ounces each. Brush the patties with the remaining oil and grill until cooked through, about three to four minutes per side. Let the patties rest for two minutes.
Assemble the sliders by liberally spreading the aïoli on each surface of the cut bun. Top with cheese, lettuce and tomato, if desired. Place the patties in the buns and serve.
Heat Scale: Mild