The dark skins of this Italian grape give richly colored juice; but it looks bolder than it tastes. Juicy, fruit-forward notes of plum and black cherry complement the flavor of lamb.

Lamb has long been enjoyed in patty form overseas, but only recently became popular in the U.S. It’s a simpler, more casual way to prepare the intensely flavored meat. Serve with a spring salad of asparagus and peas to lighten the meal.

Serves 4; Time: 20 minutes


2 lbs. ground lamb
2 teaspoons garlic powder
3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly cracked
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
3 ounces fresh Greek feta, sliced into four pieces
Red onion, sliced thin (optional topping)
1 ripe tomato, sliced (optional topping)
4 Ciabatta rolls, toasted
Spring Salad
1 lb. fresh asparagus, sliced into 1-inch pieces
3 cups fresh peas, shelled (can swap in frozen if fresh not available)
1 large lemon, juiced and zested
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, good quality
1 tablespoon honey or Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste


1. Place ground lamb in a bowl. Add garlic powder, salt, pepper, cumin, Worcestershire, and parsley. Gently mix then form four 8-ounce patties.

2. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Don’t add any cooking liquid. In fact, due to high fat content, lamb splatters. Use a splatter screen if available. Once hot, add patties. Sear 4-5 minutes then flip. Sear another 4-5 minutes, or until desired doneness is reached. Lamb tastes best at medium-rare to medium, with some pink in the center. Remove from skillet and let rest, covered, ten to fifteen minutes.

3. While meat rests, prepare the salad. Place a steamer basket inside a medium sauce pan. Fill with water until just below basket. Heat to low boil. Add asparagus and peas and cover. Steam 1-2 minutes until vegetables brighten but are still crunchy. Remove basket and run under cold water to stop vegetables from cooking further.

4. In a medium mixing bowl, place peas and asparagus. In another small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, and mustard. Pour over vegetables. Add lemon zest, mint, parsley, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat.

5. Place burger patties on toasted buns. Add feta and optional toppings. Divide spring salad across plates and serve.