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I've been on a Greek yogurt sauce kick recently. It's something that I tend to slip into when the summer comes and I'm looking for something that's cooling, easy to make, and darn tasty to boot. That it goes on just about anything—as a dip for raw vegetables or pita, as a sauce for roasted meats, as a dressing for hearty salads, a rub for grilled corn, and yes, as a sauce for burgers—makes it all the more easy to slip into the trap of making a batch each week and applying it willy-nillilly. It's a trap I really don't mind falling into.
At it's most basic, the sauce I make is a riff on my white sauce recipe, originally designed as a clone of the famous New York halal-cart chicken and rice condiment. A basic mix of thick Greek yogurt with a touch of mayonnaise, garlic, and some sort of acid, it's easy to modify to suit your needs. For this particular version, I felt it needed a bit more of a punchy, salty kick to stand up to the burger, so I added crumbled feta and plenty of black pepper. The feta also helps it to stay put on top of the burger a bit better.
You'll find yourself wanting to put this on everything, if you haven't already finished it off with a spoon by the light of the refrigerator door, that is.
For freshness and crunch factor, I went with some sliced onions and a simple relish made with diced cucumbers and tomatoes. The trick is to salt them in advance and let them drain, concentrating their flavor and seasoning them deeply. A splash of lemon juice adds a bit of brightness to the mix.
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About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.