Moon Over the Meditteranean Burgers
Lebanese cuisine — the freshest ingredients grilled with gusto!
2 Kirby cucumbers
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 cup basil leaves, divided
2 teaspoons lemon juice, divided
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/3 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 lbs ground round steak
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
6 pickled pepperoncini, sliced into long strips
1 medium red onion, sliced into rings
3 8-inch rounds of whole wheat pita
First make the dressing:
Cut both ends off each cucumber, then half-peel each cucumber. [I THINK S/HE MEANS THAT THE CUCUMBER IS STRIPE-PEELED.] This is difficult to describe, but you want to strip away about half the peel, leaving long strips of skin intact. Slice each cucumber into lengthwise halves, then slice the halves into thin half-moon slices. Drop by handfuls into a bowl, sprinkling each layer with salt — about 1 teaspoon of salt altogether. Allow to sit at room temperature for two hours (or overnight in the refrigerator.)
Chop the basil. Combine half the basil with 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 3 tablespoons sour cream, and 1/3 teaspoon sugar. Mix well. Drain the salted cucumbers and squeeze them like a sponge, one handful at a time, to remove excess water and salt. Add to the sour cream mixture and mix well.
Next mix the meat mixture:
Preheat your grill on HIGH.
Slice 2 cloves of garlic into a mortar, add 1.5 teaspoon salt, and mash into a paste. Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice, the remaining basil, the chopped mint, and the cumin and allspice. Mix and mash briefly. Add this mixture to 24 oz. ground round and mix well.
Divide the meat mixture into 3 balls. Flatten each ball into a 6″ diameter circle, then cut each in half. You’ll have six half-moon burgers. Turn the grill down to Medium High and grill the half-moons (covered) for 5 minutes on one side, turn, replace the cover, then grill for 4 more minutes. Remove to a clean plate.
Putting it all together:
Rub the pita rounds lightly with tap water, then place on the grill, cover, and heat for about 1 minute each; they’ll puff up like balloons. Cut each pita into half-moon pockets. Open the pockets and stuff each with a half-moon burger, some half-moon cucumber dressing, pepperoncini strips, and red onion rings. Serve hot and don’t tell anyone there’s mint in them thar’ burgers.