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Saffron Cherry Burgers with Feta-Parsley Aioli

A moist savory burger that combines both the honey-perfume like flavor of saffron, with the chewy concentrated taste of dried cherries. The marrying of the sweet savory burger and the creamy, salty Feta-Parsley Aioli will be sure to stir ones senses!


Feta-Parsley Aioli
¾ cup finely crumbled feta cheese
¾ cup mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
¼ teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pound freshly ground chuck
1 pound freshly ground sirloin
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup grated sweet onions
1 tablespoon lemon zest
½ cup finely diced dried cherries
1 tablespoon Feta-Parsley Aioli
Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 sourdough rolls, split
½ cup melted butter


Preheat a gas grill to medium-high. To make the Feta-Parsley Aioli, combine the feta cheese, mayonnaise, garlic and parsley in a bowl and mix well. Reserve 3 tablespoons for patties and refrigerate the remaining until serving. To make the patties, mix the saffron threads and the sugar together on a wooden cutting board and grind together into a fine powder with the back of a tablespoon. Set half aside for seasoning patties. Combine the remaining saffron sugar mixture with the chuck, sirloin, kosher salt, black pepper, onions, lemon zest, dried cherries and reserved Feta-Parsley Aioli in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the rolls. Sprinkle both sides of patties with reserved saffron sugar mixture. Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil when the grill is ready. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium. Remove from the heat and let rest while grilling the bread. Brush the cut sides of the sourdough rolls with the butter and place, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill to toast lightly. To assemble the burgers, top each bun bottom with a patty, and a generous amount of the Feta-Parsley Aioli. Add the bun tops and serve. Makes 6 burgers


The inspiration for this burger was one of my favorite Persian dishes, Albalu Polo. It is a dish that gets rave reviews whenever my Mother prepares it. I tried to capture the essence of that dish in my burger.