The Classic Burger Goes Biblical

This July 4, toss the salt and pepper in favor of za'atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend.

Special To The Jewish Week
Total time: 
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The 4th of July is the quintessential American summer holiday, and not only because it's the country's birthday. It's also a watertight excuse to revel in guilty national pleasures like beaches, beer and burgers. 

Some 4th of July purists 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 ol' 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 seasoning of choice.

Talk about classic: za'atar goes back to to the Bible, where it's called ezov. You can find it in spice shops or Middle Eastern specialty stores, but it's also fun 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 chicken, but this burger may be the best use yet!

Amy Kritzer is a food writer and recipe developer in Austin, TX who enjoys cooking, theme parties and cowboys. She challenges herself to put a spin on her Bubbe’s traditional Jewish recipes and blogs about her endeavors at What Jew Wanna Eat. You can follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook and watch her cooking videos on Google+.

 

 

Ingredients: 
For Horseradish Aioli:
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 large pasteurized egg yolk
Juice from ½ lemon
3/4 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:
1/3 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
3/4 cup za’atar seasoning
Optional: lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, etc.
Recipe Steps: 
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 3/4-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!