Recipe Image

Spanish Pork Burgers

  • 55 m
  • 55 m
Bruce Aidells
“This Spanish-themed burger is boldly flavored with sautéed onions (which keep it moist), paprika, garlic and green olives. The creamy mayonnaise spread is tangy with lemon and a hint of earthy saffron.”


    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 3 cups thinly sliced Spanish onion
    • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
    • ¼ teaspoon salt, divided
    • 1 pound lean ground pork
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped Spanish green olives, such as Manzanilla
    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 2 teaspoons Pimentón de la Vera, (see Shopping Tip) or Hungarian paprika
    • ¼ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
    • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • Pinch of saffron, (see Ingredient Note)
    • ¼ cup shredded Manchego or Monterey Jack cheese
    • 4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted
    • 2 whole jarred Piquillo peppers, (see Shopping Tip) or jarred pimientos, halved lengthwise


  • 1 Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, ¼ teaspoon pepper and ⅛ teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Set aside half the onion for topping; finely chop the other half.
  • 2 Preheat grill to medium.
  • 3 Place the chopped onion in a large bowl; add pork, olives, garlic, paprika, the remaining ½ teaspoon pepper and ⅛ teaspoon salt. Gently combine, without overmixing, until evenly incorporated. Form into 4 equal patties, about ½ inch thick.
  • 4 Combine mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice and saffron in a small bowl.
  • 5 Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the burgers, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165°F, 10 to 12 minutes total. Top with cheese and cook until it is melted, about 1 minute more.
  • 6 Assemble the burgers on toasted buns with the lemon-saffron mayonnaise, some of the reserved onions and a half a Piquillo (or pimiento) pepper.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the lemon-saffron mayonnaise (Step 4) for up to 5 days.
  • Shopping Tip: Spain is known for its superb paprika called Pimentón de la Vera, which has a smoky flavor, and for intensely flavored peppers called Piquillos. Look for these specialty ingredients in well-stocked supermarkets, gourmet-food shops or online at or
  • Ingredient Note: Literally the dried stigma from Crocus sativus, saffron is the world's most expensive spice. Each crocus produces only 3 stigma, requiring over 75,000 flowers for each pound of saffron. Fortunately, a little goes a long way. It's used sparingly to add golden yellow color and flavor to a wide variety of Middle Eastern, African and European-inspired foods. Find it in the specialty-herb section of large supermarkets, gourmet-food shops and Wrapped in foil and placed in a container with a tight-fitting lid, it will keep in a cool, dry place for several years.
  • Tip: To oil the grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.) When grilling delicate foods like tofu and fish, it is helpful to spray the food with cooking spray.
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