Lamb Burgers With Favas, Peas, Feta and Mint

Photo by Michael Piazza / Styled by Catrine Kelty

I make an appetizer dip from favas and peas with feta and parsley, and once I used some leftovers to top a garlicky grilled lamb chop. That got me thinking: Could I layer the mashed peas and favas onto a spiced lamb burger to dress it up a bit? These are the results: a delicious, early-summer burger made with fresh peas and favas at their peak. Other times of the year, feel free to use frozen peas and lima beans or edamame instead.

Makes 4 burgers

For the burgers:
1 pound ground lamb
1¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
zest of ½ lemon
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
¼ teaspoon dried red chili flakes (or more if you like some heat)

For topping and serving:
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for brushing bread
2 cloves crushed garlic
½ cup shelled fresh peas
½ cup double-shelled fava beans (from 1 pound of fresh favas)
big pinch of kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup flat leaf Italian parsley leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
juice of ½ lemon
2-inch chunk feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt

4 ciabatta rolls

Combine the ground lamb with the remaining burger ingredients, using your hands to incorporate the spices into the meat. Form into 4 patties and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to a day in advance of cooking.

Make the topping while the meat rests. In a small sauté pan, heat the olive oil and add the garlic, peas, and favas and cook until the garlic is fragrant and the vegetables are bright green and warm. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or food processor and mash (or pulse) until peas and favas are crushed but not pureed. Stir in the parsley leaves, mint, thyme, lemon juice, and feta. Taste and add more salt and pepper and olive oil if needed.

Grill the burgers on a preheated charcoal grill (or in a cast iron skillet on the stove), until cooked to your liking—as lamb can be lean, try not to cook it more than medium. When the burgers are cooked, brush the bread with olive oil and grill or toast lightly on one side only. Spread a bit of Greek yogurt onto each slice of bread, then top four slices with a burger and some of the fava-pea mixture. Cap it off with another slice of grilled bread and serve.

This recipe appeared in the Summer 2015 issue.