The 4th of July is the quintessential American summer holiday. Beaches, beer, burgers and…fireworks. It just screams ‘Merica! My friends and I make a yearly trek to Michigan where we partake in four days of festivities and water sports. We all don our finest red, white and blue, and just relax and unplug. Isn’t that what summer is all about?
Some 4th of July purists that say the holiday just isn’t the same without a classic grilled burger. I tend to agree, except for the classic part. One reason the good ole U.S.A. is so great is that we are one big melting pot of nationalities and cultures. So when it came time to make a truly great burger, I turned to Middle Eastern influences. Instead of boring salt and pepper, I made the spice blend za’atar my the seasoning of choice.
You can find za’atar in spice shops or Middle Eastern specialty stores, but it is worth the effort to make your own.
Sumac, which adds a citrus flavor to the herby seasoning, can be found at Whole Foods or spice shops. I’ve used za’atar in everything from dips to eggs to roasted vegetables to on chicken, but this burger may be the best use yet!
- For Horseradish Aioli:
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 large pasteurized egg yolk
- Juice from ½ lemon
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil (canola or vegetable work well too)
- 1-2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- Salt and pepper to taste
- For Za’atar Seasoning:
- ⅓ cup sumac
- 3 tablespoons dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- For Grilled Za’atar Burger:
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 small white onion, small diced
- ¾ cup za’atar seasoning
- Optional: lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, etc.
- To make aioli, whisk together Dijon mustard, egg yolk, and lemon juice together in a bowl. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, starting with just a few drops, while whisking. Keep adding the olive oil until the mixture emulsifies and thickens. You should be able to turn the bowl upside down and nothing drips out once it is ready! Reserve for assembling burgers.
- To make the za’atar, stir all ingredients together.
- Combine ground beef, onion, and za’atar seasoning together until mixed. Don’t over mix. Form into four to six large patties about ¾-inch thick.
- Put the burgers on a lightly oiled pre-heated grill over medium heat or grill pan and grill for about 5 minutes per side until cooked to desired doneness and has an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.
- To assemble, put burgers on the bottom side of a bun and top with aioli. Top with lettuce, tomatoes and red onion or desired toppings. Serve and enjoy!
This recipe originally appeared on The Jewish Week.