Mouth-watering Lamb Burgers

These are the best burgers I've ever tasted, recipe adapted from



The original Epicurious recipe, called "charmoula lamb," calls for putting the patties into pita pockets with a thick tomato slice and a spread made from black olive tapenade, olive oil, and fresh lemon juice. There was no pita bread, much less black olive tapenade, lying around when I first made this recipe. An atypically heavy snowfall kept me housebound and at the mercy of what was already in the refrig and freezer. So I served Steve the patties plain with a handful of yummy little spanakopita triangles from Costco and a lettuce salad dressed with plain olive oil/wine vinegrette enhanced with a hefty pinch of black truffle salt, the gift of a grateful recipient of an earlier lamb stew feast here. The mix of Greek and middle-Eastern cuisines drew particularly rave reviews from the chief shepherd at Saltmarsh Ranch.

The word "charmoula" generally refers to a marinade. In this recipe, the spice mixture is worked directly into the ground meat and cooked very lightly, without the need for marinating ahead of time.

My friend Leigh Hood put me onto this recipe, thank goodness. Leigh is not only one of the best and most imaginative cooks I have ever met; she also patiently endures my endless tales about our Soay sheep and provides appealing photographs of our flock from her visits. Besides all that, she was a highly accomplished professional ballet dancer in an earlier life – we don't see many of them out here in the country.

Bon appétit!