© David Loftus
a cracking burger
There’s nothing better than a home-made burger. Everyone loves them, they’re easy to make and, if made with quality, fresh ingredients (and not overladen with greasy stuff), they certainly don’t have to be unhealthy, especially if served with a salad. Once you’ve mastered this tasty basic recipe, you can make it your own with different herbs, spices and toppings.The sky’s the limit – that’s why cooking is so exciting.
To make your burger
Wrap the crackers in a kitchen towel and smash up until fine, breaking up any big bits with your hands, and put them into a large bowl. Finely chop the parsley, including the stalks. Add the parsley, mustard, and ground beef to the bowl. Crack in the egg and add a good pinch of salt and pepper. With clean hands, scrunch and mix everything up well. Divide into 6 and pat and mold each piece into a roundish shape about 3/4-inch thick. Drizzle the burgers with oil, put on a plate, cover and place in the refrigerator until needed (this helps them to firm up).
To cook your burger
Preheat a large grill pan or frying pan for about 4 minutes on a high heat. Turn the heat down to medium. Place the burgers on the grill pan or in the frying pan and use a turner to lightly press down on them, making sure the burger is in full contact. Cook them to your liking for 3 or 4 minutes on each side — you may need to cook them in two batches.
To serve your burger
Wash and dry a few small lettuce leaves, tearing up the larger ones. Slice the tomatoes. Peel and finely slice the red onion. Slice the pickles lengthways as thinly as you can. Place all this on a platter and put it in the middle of the table with plates, cutlery, ketchup, and drinks. Transfer your burgers to another plate and carefully wipe your frying pan or grill pan clean with paper towels. Halve your burger buns and lightly toast them on the grill pan or in the frying pan. You could also serve your hamburgers with a chopped salad.
PS. I'd still make this quantity even if it was just for 4 people. I'd wrap the extra 2 burgers in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer.
• 12 cream or plain crackers, such as Jacob's
• 8 sprigs of fresh Italian parsley
• 2 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard
• 1 pound good-quality ground beef
• 1 large egg, preferably free-range or organic
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Olive oil
• 1 romaine or butterhead lettuce
• 3 tomatoes
• 1 red onion
• 3 or 4 pickles
• 6 burger buns
Optional: 6 slices of Cheddar cheese