Here's How Giada De Laurentiis Adds Gourmet Flair To Lamb Burgers

Giada De Laurentiis knows how to add a gourmet flair to backyard favorites. On an episode of Food Network's "Giada At Home," De Laurentiis forgoes the traditional "Friday night" burger and makes lamb burgers, adding an Italian ingredient that separates and elevates the finished product. That ingredient is prosciutto and its sweet and salty goodness makes all the difference. In fact, this cured meat might be better than bacon on a burger.

The celebrity chef's lamb burgers have a little bit of a meatloaf vibe as she blends the ground lamb with bread crumbs, a little milk, and a beaten egg, along with chopped sun-dried tomatoes, Pecorino Romano cheese, flat-leaf Italian parsley, and a sprinkle of salt. Once she has formed her burgers, she wraps them in a wide, but thin slice of prosciutto. De Laurentiis explains in the episode that you want to put the raw burger right in the center of the prosciutto and fold either side of the strip of meat over, wrapping the lamb burger loosely like a present. She then places them in a frying pan where they cook for six to eight minutes per side.

It keeps your burger moist

While De Laurentiss' prosciutto lamb burgers could be a nod to her Italian heritage, there may be a practical reason she adds this ingredient as well. Burgers, in general, have a tendency to become dry rather quickly, but wrapping them in a layer of fat-rich meat like prosciutto not only serves as a flavor enhancer, but it also helps lock in the lamb's juices. This technique is known as barding and it keeps moisture trapped so your lamb or traditional burgers don't taste dry and are not fun to eat. The prosciutto creates a tasty crust as it fries with the burger, leading to a lovely texture and bite. 

De Laurentiis tops her burgers with a slice of tomato and a basil leaf which she drizzles with a drop or two of olive oil and Balsamic vinegar. If you love her approach, try it with your next smoky lamb burger with mint-Chile pickled cucumbers to create a fiery contrast with the prosciutto. But if you aren't a fan of lamb, don't worry. You could easily adapt her recipe to work with your classic turkey burger