Finely chop 2 tbsp of tarragon leaves, 4 of parsley and 2 of mint, then mix together in a deep bowl. Add 500g of finely minced raw chicken and season generously with salt and black pepper. Combine everything, a task that is easiest done with your hands, making sure the chicken is evenly flecked with herbs. Shape the paste into 4 large oval burgers, then leave in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Cut 250g of plum or cherry tomatoes in half then put them in a mixing bowl. Slice 20 cornichons in half diagonally and toss with the tomatoes and a couple of tbsp of the cornichons’ liquor, then set aside.
Put 5 tbsp of good, firm mayonnaise in a small bowl then beat in an extra egg yolk, the finely grated zest of a lemon and a little of the juice. Add a grinding of black pepper. The mayonnaise will be runny, just thick enough to flow from the spoon.
Warm a thin layer of olive oil in a wide, shallow pan, add the burgers and let them brown on the underside, then turn and colour the other sides. Lower the heat, then cover with a lid to encourage them to cook right through which, with minced chicken, they must be.
Serve the burgers, 2 per person, sizzling from the pan with the tomato and cornichon salad at their side and a spoonful of the lemon sauce. Serves 2.
It is an exacting but satisfying job to colour all sides of the burgers evenly. Take your time over it. Whisking an extra egg yolk into the mayonnaise gives a richer result, though there is no need if you are using home-made mayo. Slacken the texture with lemon juice to make a sharp yet silky sauce for the burgers, which doubles as dressing for the tomatoes.
Turkey mince is more easily found in supermarkets than minced chicken, and makes a fine alternative. Make sure the meat is finely minced. If too coarse, the burger will fall apart. The basic recipe can be made with lamb, though change the herbs to parsley, thyme and mint, and perhaps add 1 tsp of ground cumin.
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