Owner Gerald Hirigoyen named his FiDi restaurant Bocadillos after the little sandwiches of the same name in Basque cuisine. These lamb sliders are a favorite among the lunch crowd during the week, and the recipe comes from Hirigoyen's 2009 cookbook, Pintxos: Small Plates in the Basque Tradition (Ten Speed).
Makes 4 small burgers
1 tablespoon cumin seed
2 tables spoons aioli or mayonnaise
½ teaspoon coriander seed
½ teaspoon fennel seed
1 pound ground lamb
4 small brioche, challah, or other small, soft buns, split horizontally
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
4 small, thin slices ripe tomato
4 small butter lettuce leaves, from center of head
1. In a spice grinder, grind the cumin seed to a fine powder.
2. Transfer 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin to a small bowl, add the aioli, mix well, and set aside. Pour the remaining ground cumin into a second small bowl. Combine the coriander and fennel seeds in the spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. Add to the ground cumin and mix well.
3. In a bowl, combine the lamb and mixed ground spices and knead lightly until well combined. Divide the lamb mixture into 4 equal portions. Form each portion into a patty a little wider than the buns and set aside (you want them wider because they shrink when you cook them). Or the patties can be covered and refrigerated for up to 8 hours before continuing.
4. To serve, lightly toast the cut sides of the buns. Heat in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and warm it until it ripples. Add the lamb patties and cook on the first side for about 3 minutes, or until browned. Using a spatula, turn and cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until browned on the second side but still lightly pink in the center. Transfer to paper towels.
5. Spread the cut sides of each bun with the cumin aioli. Divide the shallot slices evenly among the bun bottoms. Top with a burger, a tomato slice, a lettuce leaf and a bun.