Put 450g of coarsely minced pork in a mixing bowl. Grind in plenty of black pepper and sea salt. Finely chop 3 tbsp of rosemary leaves and the same of thyme. Grate the zest from 1 blood orange on the finest teeth of a grater. Peel and crush (or mince or finely chop) 2 juicy cloves of garlic. Tip the lot into the mince and work everything together with your hands.
Shape the pork into 4 thick squares of equal weight and set aside on a baking sheet in the fridge for half an hour to settle themselves.
Finely slice 1 large, unblemished bulb of fennel, putting any fluffy green fronds to one side, then cook in 2-3 tbsp of olive oil and a large knob of butter in a shallow pan. Keep the heat low and turn the slices regularly until they are soft and sweet. That’s a good 20-25 minutes over a moderate heat.Advertisement
Cook the burgers on a hot griddle pan or in a shallow layer of oil in a frying pan. Remove the peel from the blood oranges with a razor-sharp knife, then thinly slice the fruit. Split and toast 4 pieces of focaccia that are roughly the same size as the burgers. Trickle some of the fennel’s buttery pan juices over the cut sides of the bread, place some of the fennel on 4 of the pieces, lay a burger on each, a little more fennel, the reserved fronds, then top with the rest of the focaccia. Serves 4
Of all the burgers I make, those made with pork give me the most pleasure. Where you will want to throw the whole spice cupboard at a lamb burger, those made with minced pork need nothing more than rosemary, oregano or thyme, and a smidgen of garlic in the way of seasoning. Oh, and salt. Porkloves a generous hand with the salt. Keep them succulent by using a good fatty cut of meat or by adding a handful of minced streaky bacon or pancetta.
Some dried oregano, in place of the rosemary, will please the little burgers’ Italian hearts. As would a dash of dark, sticky balsamic vinegar in the sautéed fennel. In place of the focaccia, wrap the sizzling patties up in large curls of crisp, iceberg lettuce and sprigs of mint.
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