There are some things that follow you through your life and so it is with what we eat. We might cast some aside if they become dated or our tastes change, for instance I don’t miss the Vesta Chop Suey, Smash or Instant Whip. A Crispy Pancake has never graced my table and I must admit to not being a fan of the Arctic Roll…. Others though follow and accompany you. One such friend that I am always delighted to come across is the burger, slider or hamburger as they used to be called.
I remember the excitement of my first Wimpy, enthralled by the red restaurant on the side of the road and this funny little patty in the soft, slightly sweet bun. Then, a real childhood treat, the Hard Rock, that noisy rocking joint on Piccadilly in London with the waitresses dressed as proper American diner gals and guitars on the walls. The burgers were big and juicy and the milk shakes so thick your straw really did stand up in them.
As I got older we would frequent a place on the Fulham Road called Parsons which had a monster called an All the Way, and I’ve enjoyed many Tootsies burgers with that real flame grilled flavour. The veal burger at The Boxwood, the superb GBK and the likes of Dirty Burger bring us nearly up to date.
During these years there were of course the hamburgers at home. Regular patties, usually beef were (and still are) a favourite lunch. The table would groan under plates of tomato, lettuce, pickles and cheese so you could build and create your own bespoke masterpiece. There was ketchup, American mustard, mayonnaise and do you remember Cubits pickles, green, red or yellow.
The burger remains on my party list to this day. Now though it might be lamb or turkey mince, salmon and tuna can make a fine fish burger too. Chopped herbs and spices are added, various chutneys, salsas and mayos offered on the side. It might be a normal two handed number or one of these new fangled little sliders. It doesn’t matter, the principle remains unaltered and why shouldn’t it, a good burger is pretty much perfection.
Turkey Burger with Harissa and Garlic Mayo
Turkey, rather like a puppy, is not just for Christmas (does that sound a bit wrong? You know what I mean). Yet for so many that is the only time it makes the table. Turkey is good for us, not too expensive and makes a very good burger – give this one a try.
500g turkey mince
2 teaspoons harissa paste (add more if you like, this is just right for my children)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper, a good few grinds
Small bunch parsley finely chopped
A handful of breadcrumbs
Mix everything together really well, your hands are best for this. Fry a very small amount and taste. You may need more seasoning or harissa if you want things a little more fiery. When you are happy with the mixture, divide into 4, roll into balls and then flatten into the traditional patty shape. Heat your griddle or frying pan and cook – the ones you see pictured took about 8 minutes on each side, you can make a little cut into one and check if it is done. Serve with the garlic mayo and any other accompaniments you want.
1 clove garlic, crushed
Juice of half a lemon
Mix it all together in a bowl and serve with the turkey burgers.