Author Notes: My husband and young sons love the kofta burgers from a local Lebanese restaurant. It's very important to me to only eat meat that is raised and slaughtered humanely, and not administered antiobiotics and hormones. So, without the recipe, we started working to recreate these burgers at home. Finally we have a version that is a family (and friend) favorite. Allspice is critical so don't go without. And toasting the coriander and cumin seeds for both the sliders and aioli makes a big difference.
I think a cumin-coriander aioli is a nice riff on the hummus and yogurt that often accompany these kofta. And I feel that asparagus, cumin and coriander are an under-utilized, delicious combo.
My aioli recipe has as its foundation, Amanda's Preserved Lemon Aioli. I used slightly less olive oil, slightly more lemon juice and instead of preserved lemon, I substituted toasted cumin and toasted coriander, both coarsely ground. - em-i-lis - em-i-lis
Food52 Review: I cheated a bit in choosing this recipe to test -- I knew that with toasted cumin and coriander in the aioli, and the grilled burgers and asparagus, it was a sure win. I was right. We loved the toasted spices in the lemony aioli: it is truly a perfect combination for summer grilling. Food processing the onion and then keeping a few whole bits ensures a tasty moist burger (we used bison because the grass-fed beef lady at the farmer’s market was out!). The herbs and spices amp up the flavor to just the right level. In short, there were no leftovers. - aargersi - aargersi
Grilled Kofta sliders and asparagus
- 2 pounds 50/50 chuck/sirloin, freshly ground
- 1 large yellow onion, 3/4 liquefied in a food processor, the remainder finely chopped for texture
- 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground allspice
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- pinches of cinnamon and paprika, if you like
- 2 bunches asparagus, trimmed, brushed with olive oil and salt
- Combine all ingredients except asparagus in a bowl and mix well.
- Shape into slider patties (or larger burgers) and grill (or freeze). When you put the sliders on the grill, also put the asparagus on. Grill both to your liking; just a few minutes works well.
Toasted cumin-coriander aioli
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 large garlic clove, pressed
- 5 oz canola oil
- 1/4 cup minus 1.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted, coarsely ground
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seed, toasted, coarsely ground
- As Amanda says, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Add the canola oil, a few drops at a time, whisking vigorously. The aioli will soon thicken, and at that point, slowly pour in the rest of the canola oil, whisking mightily all the time. I was alone, and used the folded tea towel Amanda suggested to hold my bowl in place but also put a silicone pot holder on top of the towel for good measure.
- Once all the canola oil is incorporated, slowly whisk in the olive oil. Once the olive oil is in, whisk in 3/4 of the toasted and ground cumin and coriander. Taste and season with more salt and cumin/coriander as you like.
- To serve: place two sliders and 6 grilled asparagus spears on a plate. Put a generous knob of aioli in between them. Serve with pita on the side.