In my picky days, I mostly hated burgers. I did eat them, as a teenager, occasionally when I went into Newcastle on Saturdays to shop with my friends. We didn't have much money and lunch was either a big Mac or a sandwich in Oliver's, where you chose your fillings and they made the sandwich up for you as you watched; Oliver's was a hundred times nicer than McDonalds, so we tended to go there, but McDo was much quicker. Anyway I was never keen on burgers - I didn't much like the ubiquitous gherkin, and I wasn't a fan of beef (even the nice kinds, and certainly not the spooky cuts that make it into commercial burgers). I started to eat burgers with enthusiasm in 2004, trying out a variety of home-made burgers with different flavourings - an Asian vibe with coriander and chilli sauce; a cheeseburger with Roquefort; lamb burgers in pitta with hummus and tzatziki... burgers that were a world away from the cardboard commercial version. Yesterday I had a burger craving, and decided to try out Tessa Kiros's hamburger with pink sauce from Apples for Jam, along with Jamie's recipe for rosemary straw potatoes with lemon salt. Jamie's recipe comes from April at the Spotted Pig gastropub in New York, which I googled and found has one of those menus that make you salivate. April serves her rosemary straw potatoes (which she calls shoestring fries) with a blue cheese hamburger, so I felt I was in the right vein in teaming them with Tessa's hamburger with gorgonzola.
For the burger, I mixed good beef mince with chopped parsley and seasonings and moulded into burgers to grill. The burger itself is pretty basic, but Tessa's accompaniments are to die for: red onions fried with thyme and a little salt until sticky and a wonderful pink sauce made with ketchup, mayo, paprika and lemon juice which is exceptionally delicious, as well as tomato slices and gherkins.
Simon made the straw potatoes because he is the designated potato-preparer in this house and because I was watching the X factor. This seemed to involve slicing peeled potatoes into fine matchsticks and patting them dry, before deep frying them; unlike chips, they only need one deep-frying phase because they are so thin. Rosemary sprigs are added in the last 30 seconds or so. Simon also made the accompanying lemon salt by bashing lemon zest and sea salt together.