No meat says spring quite like lamb. When I lived in France, the seasonality of meats such as lamb was celebrated. Rarely have I tasted lamb so mild and sweet as the first cuts of spring lamb from the south of France.
While healthier cooks tend to limit red meat, happily there is a place for lamb on the healthy plate. While animal proteins bring saturated fats to the table, only about half of lamb's fat is saturated. And lamb is full of protein, which means even a few ounces of it can be filling. A 4-ounce raw portion has just about 200 calories.
I love lamb that isn't gamey, so I tend to do one of two things. I either buy tender baby lamb racks, then season them with garlic, mustard and herbs before roasting them (delicious, but pricey), or I buy less expensive ground lamb and make patties or burgers. And let me tell you, these burgers are amazing.
To keep the lamb burgers extra mild, I often mix in another variety of ground meat, usually turkey or lean beef. I add just enough to take the gamey edge off the lamb. The result is a perfect flavor that reminds me of a French springtime supper.
This lamb burger recipe screams spring with a dose of seasonal peppery watercress (a healthy green) and a creamy fresh mint and shallot sauce that is spooned onto the still-sizzling patties when they are placed on the buns.
Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."