Ciao'd while watching the National Spelling Bee. It's all the buzz.
It's the grilling season. For many, this momentous shift in the calendar means that the man of the house will submit himself to the task that we women carry all year. Carry is the operative word here. We carry the task in the kitchen, he carries the torch at the grill. Fire allusions aside, this hand-off means that said man can drop his winter coat and adorn himself with the mantle of caveman, instead. Whatever. I'm pretty sure cavewomen were manning the fire, too. And I know for sure that globally, women (wo)man the grills. But we're 'mercans and in the blessed US of A, women cook and men grill. So, why not humor him so we can out-source the main course?
I do not belong to the church of women in the kitchen while men be beer drinkin' but I do believe that imprinting plays a part in the man-at-the-grill thing. Everything harks back to our childhoods, doesn't it? Who did the grilling at your house, I ask?
The primal appeal of fire and tools (fork, spatula, tongs) attracts men (with beers). Think about it. Have you ever attended a social gathering, grill or not, where men actually interact with women? As women, we're perfectly happy to nibble on brie and sip chardonnay in the kitchen while talking about our latest diets ("But I'm treating myself tonight") and bragging (passively. not.) about our kids ("He's the top lacrosse scorer/math maven/artist"), but the guys? They need entertainment. When it's not big-screen TV football, it's the grill.
A few years ago, Kingsford Charcoal ran a commercial during which a husband comes upon his wife pouring charcoal into the barbecue. "What do you think you're doing? What would happen if I walked into the kitchen and started making a salad?" he asks. "Yeah, that would be weird," she answers.
So, let 'em have at it. The men can man the grill but we mandate (I know, all these "mans") the food that adorns it. How about something like these Greek-Style Mess 'O Greens Lamb Burgers. The burgers are infused with mint and garlic and then topped with a riff on the classic Greek salad. The salad, a party of arugula, cucumber, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, red onion, and gorgonzola, brings zing and crunch to the burgers. Serve the burgers on crusty rolls. Then stand back and let the caveman take the bow. Cuz, yeah, we're humble.
GREEK-STYLE MESS 'O GREENS LAMB BURGERS
I love this Mediterranean take on the customary beef burger. Lamb takes center stage with a lively complement of herbs - mint, oregano, parsley - and a healthy dash of garlic. Top it off with a riff on the classic Greek salad - arugula, cukes, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, and here comes the Italian component - Gorgonzola! - and yeah, perfection.
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing burgers and buns
4 hamburger or ciabatta buns, split
1 1/2 cups arugula leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, thinly sliced
1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 Persian cucumber, cut lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
In a medium bowl, gently mix the lamb, mint, chives, oregano, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Shape into four 1/2-inch thick patties. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each patty (this will help the burgers stay flat while cooking rather than swelling into a ball shape). Brush with olive oil.
Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet begins to smoke, grill the burgers, turning once, until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Alternatively, prepare a charcoal grill or gas grill for direct grilling over high heat and grill the burgers.
Meanwhile, preheat a broiler. Brush the insides of the buns with olive oil and broil, cut side up, until golden, about 2 minutes. Place a burger on the bottom of each roll. In a medium bowl, toss the arugula, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, onion, cucumber, and vinegar with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Gently stir in the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange the salad on top of each burger. Cover with the bun tops and serve.