This Spanish-themed burger is boldly flavored with sautéed onions (which keep it moist), paprika, garlic and green olives. The creamy mayonnaise spread is tangy with lemon and a hint of earthy saffron.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups thinly sliced Spanish onion
¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
¼ teaspoon salt, divided
1 pound lean ground pork
1 tablespoon finely chopped Spanish green olives, such as Manzanilla
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons Pimentón de la Vera or Hungarian paprika
¼ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch of saffron,
¼ cup shredded Manchego or Monterey Jack cheese
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted
2 whole jarred Piquillo peppers or jarred pimientos, halved lengthwise
Active 55 minutes
Ready In 55 minutes
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add onion, ¼ teaspoon pepper and ⅛ teaspoon salt.
Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
Set aside half the onion for topping; finely chop the other half.
Preheat grill to medium. Place the chopped onion in a large bowl; add pork, olives, garlic, paprika, the remaining ½ teaspoon pepper and ⅛ teaspoon salt.
Gently combine, without overmixing, until evenly incorporated. Form into 4 equal patties, about ½ inch thick.
Combine mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice and saffron in a small bowl.
Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the burgers, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165°F, 10 to 12 minutes total.
Top with cheese and cook until it is melted, about 1 minute more. Assemble the burgers on toasted buns with the lemon-saffron mayonnaise, some of the reserved onions and a half a Piquillo (or pimiento) pepper.
Cover and refrigerate the lemon-saffron mayonnaise (Step 4) for up to 5 days.
Shopping Tip: Spain is known for its superb paprika called Pimentón de la Vera, which has a smoky flavor, and for intensely flavored peppers called Piquillos.
Look for these specialty ingredients in well-stocked supermarkets, gourmet-food shops or online at spanishtable.com or tienda.com.
Ingredient Note: Literally the dried stigma from Crocus sativus, saffron is the world's most expensive spice. Each crocus produces only 3 stigma, requiring over 75,000 flowers for each pound of saffron.
Fortunately, a little goes a long way.
It's used sparingly to add golden yellow color and flavor to a wide variety of Middle Eastern, African and European-inspired foods.
Find it in the specialty-herb section of large supermarkets, gourmet-food shops and tienda.com. Wrapped in foil and placed in a container with a tight-fitting lid, it will keep in a cool, dry place for several years.
To oil the grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack.
Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill. When grilling delicate foods like tofu and fish, it is helpful to spray the food with cooking spray.