Lamb Burger, Salad and Crumble Recipe for a Summer Menu

May 30, 2024
Dining & Wine
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Summer cooking should be a breeze, more pleasure than chore. So keep it simple. Have a simple salad, something for the grill, a homey fruit dessert. If you can find someone to help with the preparation, so much the better.

This menu, relying on fresh summer produce, is easy to accomplish and yields a refreshingly light, flavorful meal.



For an utterly summery first course, consider this shaved zucchini salad. The idea is very thinly sliced, very fresh zucchini or other summer squash, lightly dressed with salt, lime juice and olive oil, and finished with lots of basil, mint and crumbly creamy feta. It’s extremely refreshing and takes no time to make. Adding strips of squash blossom for a colorful garnish is nice, as are other edible blossoms like nasturtium or calendula.

The farmers’ market is where you’ll find the best-tasting choices for summer squash. I prefer not-too-small, not-too-big specimens, shiny, smooth and unblemished. They’re worth seeking out.

For a casual hot-weather main, whether lunch or dinner, I like these spicy lamb burgers with tahini sauce, inspired by the Eastern Mediterranean.

The lamb base is no trouble to put together: You just knead hot pepper, spices, garlic and olive oil into a pound of ground lamb. Press the mixture into small patties as thin as possible and grill them quickly over hot coals for three minutes per side, or pan-fry them with olive oil in a hot cast-iron skillet if you prefer. (The patties will be cooked medium but remain juicy.)

Top the burgers with a dollop of the garlicky tahini sauce you have just stirred up. I like to add sliced tomato and avocado, and a few strips of roasted pepper. They’re heavenly served in toasted pitas but are just at home on a bun.

When it comes to dessert, I’m of the persuasion that fruity desserts are the way to go all year round. but especially in summer, when produce is in great abundance. A crumble is both simple and delicious.

Truth be told, for this menu, I had my mind set on apricot — until there were none at the market. So I pivoted to ripe mangoes instead. I had never before ventured into cooked mango territory, though I know others have. My only (happy) experiences had been with raw ripe mango and green mango salad. I’m thrilled to report that indeed mango makes an excellent crumble, with or without a handful of berries thrown in.

But if you can’t manage baking a crumble, rest assured that a plate of sliced juicy mango is a perfect summer dessert, too.

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