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Fresh, ripe tomatoes are practically beating down the doors of local supermarkets and farmers’ markets, and here I am telling you to make something with the 1990s-trendy version in a jar.

I do have my reasons.

I have a gorgeous, fabulous cherry-tomato salad recipe to share, but that would make three salad posts in a row, and shouldn’t I mix it up a little?  Would my readers declare me a protein-less salad blog and jump ship?  These are things I think about.  So that salad shall have its sweet, sweet day, but that day is not today.

Thus… we shall use tomatoes in one of the best ways I know how: on meat.  More specifically, on lamb.  Mmmmmmm!!!!

I know I need to come up with something more creative than ‘OMG, these burgers!!!!’ but…

OMG,  these burgers!!!’

The parm and garlic complement the lamb while letting its luscious lamb-i-ness shine through, and the aioli is so boss.  (If you can’t call something that channels perhaps one of the most iconic food trends of the 1990s ‘boss,’ then you really can’t call anything ‘boss.’  And I like the word ‘boss’- it reminds me of my dad making me laugh trying to speak ‘cool kid speak’ when I was in middle school, which was in the height of the sun-dried tomato-loving 90s.)

Sun-dried tomatoes can easily overpower the foods with which they are typically prepared, but they are perfect with lamb.  Perfect!  And lest you are still judging me for telling you to buy a jarred vegetable in the midst of the summer vegetable orgy, did you know you can make luscious sun-dried tomatoes??  Try this recipe.  Store them in oil for this burger topping.  Haven’t made it so I can’t comment, but the internet seems to like it!!

[As an aside, when I had prolific tomato plants last year + a CSA box full of 'em, I made this recipe for Tomato Conserva from Fine Cooking.  It elevates tomatoes to divine status.  The flavor is not *quite* as strong as sun-dried tomatoes, so if you are looking for that, try the link above.  But oh my.  Tomato Conserva is amazing.]

Can we also talk about how this meal involves grilling outside + a no-cook aioli?  Involving tomatoes.  The absolute essence of summer.  Add tequila for best results.

Lamb Burgers with Sun-dried Tomato Aioli
 
Adapted from Cooking Light
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 12 sun-dried tomatoes, packed in olive oil
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced and divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ c freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 pounds lean ground lamb
Instructions
  1. Buzz the sun-dried tomatoes, mayonnaise, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and 1 garlic clove in a food processor until tomatoes are finely chopped. Season to taste with salt and set aside. This can be done up to 2 days in advance.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high.
  3. Combine remaining 2 garlic cloves, cheese, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, and lamb in a large bowl. Divide mixture into 4 (8-oz) portions, shaping into burgers about ¾"-1" thick. Press your thumb into the center of each burger, making a deep depression- this will help prevent burger bloat as they cook. Grill for about 5 minutes per side for a medium-cooked burger. Let burgers rest for a few minutes before serving topped generously with aioli.

 

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