Lamb Burgers with Buttermilk Blue

Meat.

That’s what I wanted for lunch today.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve been sick and my diet for the last four days has consisted primarily of oatmeal, yogurt, and more oatmeal. Perhaps it’s because I just discovered that a friend of mine who is addicted to fast-food burgers (seriously, the guy keeps McDonald’s in business) also happens to read my blog, and it got me wondering what he’d actually want to eat here, anyway. Or maybe I’ve just been thinking about my brother, a self-professed carnivore, a lot lately.

It could be that a post about lamb from this new blog I recently discovered quietly lodged itself in my subconscious, and decided today was the day to speak up…. Or weirdly enough, it may even have something to do with the fact that I’m reading (and loving) this book about witches and vampires in which the characters talk a lot about blood: the chemical make-up of it, the temperature of it, the color and texture of it, even the sound of it (yes, apparently some blood does make a sound)… and of course, the taste of it.

(I know, I told you it was weird.)

Maybe I was just hungry.

For whatever reason, I quickly realized the quiet, economical, sensible little lunch I had planned for today (primarily consisting of greens and an egg — big shocker, I know) was not going to cut it. I needed meat. Red meat. Stat.

And so, on my way home, I ducked into a local grocer that carries a nice selection of grass-fed, free-range meats. I walked in, headed straight for the steaks, when I got distracted (unsurprisingly) by the cheese section, which I learned early on has lovely little free samples. (C’mon, free cheese? How could I not? You would have too.)

So there I was poking around, pretending to browse the vast array of cheeses while I chewed on a cube of some goat cheese or other, when my eyes lighted upon a tiny wedge of buttermilk blue — really tiny. Just $1.84 worth. What a find! This little wedge would be the perfect amount to accompany a glass of wine or two, or to top a salad along with the pear patiently waiting in my kitchen, without having too much leftover — or even worse, none leftover. (It’s shocking how much cheese will fit inside a person.) I was thrilled.

Seriously, cooking for one is tricky enough as it is; buying cheese for one is almost impossible — unless you happen to be one of those hateful lucky people who can eat a lot of cheese and still fit into their jeans. Really, no matter how small those wedges seem, they’re always more than I want to consume by myself in the amount of time required before it dries out or spoils. The only solution I’ve come up with, then, is to only buy it when I’ve got someone to share it with.

Which is, as I’m sure you’re thinking inside your head at this very moment, not much of a solution at all.

But today (!) — today, I would not have to choose between waste or overindulgence. I quickly swiped up that little wedge of buttermilk blue and happily trotted over to the meat counter. After scanning labels and prices in search of something not terribly expensive, I spied my meat: there, wedged in the back and nearly hidden from view, was some free-range, antibiotic-free ground lamb, at just shy of eight dollars a pound. Half a pound would give me two meals, and would only put me back a mere four dollars and change.

Even better, I’d found a higher purpose for half of my wedge of buttermilk blue.

I ordered my meat, grabbed a brioche roll, paid my bill and, tummy a-rumble, scurried home with my goods.

Six minutes after I walked in the door — I kid you not, six minutes later —

Voila. Lunch. Delicious, carnivorous, omnivorous lunch.

If I’d had more time (read: been less ravenous, or been in anything other than a desperately carnivorous mood), I might have finely chopped up a small slice of onion and maybe a couple leaves of mint to work into the meat… but I didn’t. What can I say? Besides being quite hungry, I was feeling lazy maybe can be a bit of a purist sometimes….

Hey, quit rolling your eyes! Anyway, it came out delicious. There are enough other flavors going on here that I didn’t miss the onion or herbs. But if you feel compelled to add onion, herbs, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, whatever… do what you gotta do.

Open-Face Lamb Burgers with Arugula and Buttermilk Blue

  • 1 brioche hamburger roll
  • 1/2 lb ground lamb
  • a small handfull of baby arugula
  • mayo & mustard
  • salt & fresh cracked pepper
  • a wedge of lemon
  • a small wedge of buttermilk blue cheese

Plug in a George Forman grill. (Or alternatively, you can do this in a frying pan with a tiny drop of oil.)

Slice the brioche in half. Using a butter knife (and if you’re averse to extra dishes, the surface of one of the rolls), mix together a small amount of mayo, a smaller amount of mustard, and a squeeze of lemon. Shmear over the surface of both halves and arrange a bit of arugula on top. (A paper-thin slice of red onion might be nice here too, I just didn’t have any on-hand.)

Sprinkle a pinch of salt and some fresh cracked pepper on top of the ground lamb, and either gently work it into the meat or pat it around the outside. Divide the ball of meat and shape into two patties. When the grill is ready, put the two patties in and close the lid, resisting the urge to press down on it. Let them sizzle and sputter under there for a good 2-3 minutes before opening the top to check on them. When you do, rotate them (for pretty grill marks) and let cook for another minute or so.

When the burgers are done, slide them on top of the brioche halves. Top immediately with a thin slice or two of the blue cheese. The heat of the burger will wilt and dress the (otherwise naked) arugula, and will make the blue cheese all melty.

I imagine this would be lovely served with a simple salad of butter lettuce, sliced pears, walnuts, and a bit of crumbled blue dressed with a touch of olive oil, lemon juice, honey, black pepper and salt. Or any number of other things you could come up with.

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One Comment to “Lamb Burgers with Buttermilk Blue”

  1. Thanks for the shout out! 🙂

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