I think I may be in danger.
For the past four days, I’ve been shooting my mouth off about how much I despise the Minnesota State Fair, and I fear the devoted fair-goers may turn up at my door with pronto pup-topped pitchforks and propane torches.
But I just can’t seem to help myself. Sweet cracker sandwiches, how I hate the fair. I hate the hokey state fair news coverage, and the ubiquitous on-a-stick jokes, and the questionable odors perfuming the air near the farm building, and the huge lines for rickety rides, and most of all, the mobs of people who invade my neighborhood for 10 days each August, taking every last parking space, along with the very last deep fried morsel of my patience and good will.
I’ve become the summertime Grinch.
While my fellow Minnesotans are enjoying the Great Minnesota Sweat Together, I grumpily hibernate in my apartment, leaving only to fight my way to work and back through streets filled with meandering jaywalkers, pushing strollers and dragging over-sized stuffed animals.
And forget about having company! I wouldn’t dream of asking my guests to brave the crowds and fight for parking during the fair. So it’s a good thing I hosted my summer picnic, starring Greek-inspired lamb burgers well before the vendor trucks and fair-goers descended upon my street.
The burgers were encrusted in garlic, oregano, kosher salt and red pepper flakes before I seared them to a juicy medium rare. Then I topped the burgers with spicy capicola and nestled them in chewy, soft ciabatta rolls dressed in a tzatziki-inspired goat cheese and cucumber spread.
I’m fairly certain my heart grew three sizes that day.
- ½ cup grated cucumber
- 2 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon non-fat plain Greek yogurt
- ½ teaspoon fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon chopped green onion
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon powdered oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 pound ground lamb
- Olive oil
- 4 ciabatta rolls, split and toasted
- 8 thin slices capicola
- Gently squeeze the excess water from the grated cucumber.
- In a small bowl, stir together the cucumber, goat cheese, yogurt, dill, and onion.
- Cover tightly and chill. Let spread soften and stir before serving.
- Combine the garlic powder, oregano, salt, and red pepper flakes.
- Form the ground lamb into four patties, gently pressing a shallow dimple in the center of each. Sprinkle the patties liberally with the garlic mixture.
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or on a griddle. Cook each side 4-5 minutes or until cooked to desired doneness (145 degrees internal temp for medium rare). Remove to a paper towel to rest.
- To assemble the burgers, spread the cucumber sauce on the top halves of the toasted ciabatta rolls. Lay the lamb burgers on the bottom halves and top them with the capicola and the sauced ciabatta roll tops.