Olive oilfor very lightly coating the patties just before they hit the heat.
Ground sea saltfor sprinkling top and bottom on the lightly oiled patties – just before they hit the heat
Making the relish
Gently stir all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. You might like to adjust the quantities – not too much – until you have a relish that perfectly suits your tastes.
If you like, keep a little of the parsley aside to sprinkle on the top of the relish as a summery green garnish.
Making the patties: be cool, be quick and be gentle
Cold is cool. Ground chuck with a good fat content needs to stay cold so that the fat only starts to melt when your patty hits the heat. For the very little mixing that’s needed, a steel bowl and wooden spoon will help keep the temperatures low.
So, tip all the ingredients – except the olive oil and salt – into a mixing bowl. Now gently, and I mean gently, stir the mix just enough to bring all the ingredients evenly together. Good. Time now to form your patties.
Divide the patty mix evenly into four. Gently hand-mould the mix into four patties that are no more than 3/4 inch thick and four inches in diameter.
What’s really important here is to avoid compacting the patties too much. Use just enough hand pressure so that the mix holds together in somewhat flattish discs. A neat-edged, uniformly round shape is way less important than a lightly compacted patty.
Now pop them onto a plate and let them chill in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
Cooking the burgers - and giving the buns a little toasting
Heat the skillet* over a high heat for a minute or so until it’s really hot. As that’s happening, use your fingers to quickly spread a 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil over each patty’s top and bottom. Now sprinkle a good pinch of salt over each oiled side. Grand. Your patties are heading for that hot, hot skillet right now.
Lay the patties into the skillet and let them sit on that searing heat for two minutes on each side. That will give you medium rare patties – each with a nicely charred, just slightly crunchy outside and a still just pinkish, juicy inside. Perfect. Don’t be tempted to fiddle with the patties as they cook, just let them be for those two minutes each side.
Remove the patties and set them aside on a warm plate. It’s time to put a little toasted color onto the buns. So, slice each bun through its waistline, and add all four tops – cut side down – to the skillet and turn the heat to high. Leave them on that heat for 90 seconds so they just pick up a little toasty golden colour. Done. Turn off the heat and remove the tops from the skillet.
Serving the burgers
Spread a generous layer of the relish onto the untoasted bottom of each bun. Lay a patty on top and then spread another kindly helping of relish onto the patty’s top. That’s it. Done! Serve at once with napkins.
* I use a big, heavy 12-inch skillet for this. Why? Well, it handles high heat really well right across it base, nothing sticks to it, and it gives each patty’s side an evenly spread char. I’ve found that griddle pans tend to stick, and it’s hard to find one big enough to cook four patties at the same time. So, a flat-bottomed skillet’s the way to go for me.To drink? For a burger this good, I’d go for a cabernet sauvignon at coolish room temperature. Happy days!