Mediterranean Australian lamb burger with goat cheese and tomato relish
1 3⁄4 pounds ground Australian lamb
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
6-8 large basil leaves, sliced
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1⁄2 cup cornmeal (or flour), for coating
olive oil, for cooking
3 vine-ripened tomatoes, halved crosswise
1 red onion, thickly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
To make the burgers, combine ground lamb, shallot, capers, basil and pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Divide mixture into four burgers. Spread cornmeal over a plate and press burgers into the cornmeal to coat.
Preheat barbecue or grill pan and brush with oil. Cook the burgers over medium to high heat for 6-7 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160°F.
To make the relish, place the tomatoes flesh-side down on the grill and flip after 20 seconds, cooking until skin starts to char. Grill the onions until soft. Transfer to a plate and, when cool enough to handle, dice finely. Place in a bowl, add the sugar and vinegar, season to taste with salt and pepper and mix well. Serve warm or cold.
Grill the buns, cut side down, until lightly toasted. Spread with goat cheese and top with the burgers. Serve with the tomato relish.
Note: For a gourmet alternative, try filling the burger with the goat cheese before grilling. Simply make two half-burgers and place a spoonful of goat cheese on the center of one and “sandwich” with the other. The cheese melts deliciously through the burger. Or just make this simple version and relax on the porch with a beer! If you have time before cooking, cover the burgers with plastic and refrigerate 20 minutes or longer. This helps to make them more firm and allows flavors to develop.
To Serve: 4 Kaiser rolls or hamburger buns, split
4 tablespoons soft goat cheese (or chèvre)
Tip: The burger patties and relish can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. If you’re having trouble convincing your kids how wonderful Australian Lamb is, this is the perfect place to begin. They’ll be amazed at the mild and sweet flavor of Australian Lamb.