It’s safe to say that I have an on-going and long-lasting love affair with the humble burger. There’s something about the simple mince patty that just works for me on a deep and primal level, far more than a steak would. When I first started working in London, a weekly treat would be a visit to Wimpy for a quarter-pounder meal – still a flavour of childhood, and increasingly difficult to find. The now sadly defunct southwest American chain Santa Fe used to serve theirs in a tortilla that had been seared shut. I still do this at home on occasion when I can’t be bothered with the big bready hit of a bun. Sealed in a light edible package with salsa, guacamole and a good strong cheese, it’s an enduring pleasure.
These days, I have become more enamoured of the French way with a burger – the steak hache. It’s basically a burger without the bells and whistles, so the meat becomes the star. That means, of course, that any old rubbish won’t do. Last night, I had steak mince left over from the cottage pie I’d made earlier in the week. A light went on. For a burger fan, it seems almost shameful to note that I have never made one from scratch. It was time to stretch my culinary boundaries.