Salsa Verde Cheeseburger
A standard tomatillo salsa verde is made up of tomatillos, peppers, chillies, onion and coriander. Fresh tomatillos are ideal but canned will also work. Salsa verde, as its name suggests (Verde, the Spanish word for green), only uses green fruits so look for green jalapeños and green peppers — ideally long peppers but regular bell peppers are fine too. If using bell peppers, cut them in half to match the height of the tomatillos when putting them under the grill so that everything browns evenly.
The standard burger size is 4oz or roughly 115g. You can buy them pre-formed or easily make your own with beef mince. Burgers need a high-fat content to be juicy and delicious so find a mince that is at least 10% fat. No need to mix any extra ingredients into the mince; no breadcrumbs, no egg, no salt — The burgers are salted as they cook.
For the cheese, I always go for the American-style slices of cheap, plasticky, processed cheese. It’s not a good cheese by any means but it is perfect for topping burgers. It just melts so well. If you don’t want to use plastic cheese, use slices of soft cheese like mozzarella, mild cheddar or gouda. If you can find it, sliced raclette is the ultimate burger cheese. I find that anything aged or hard, either doesn’t melt properly or the fat separates from the cheese, making it sweaty and greasy.
Buns are buns, whatever you can find will always do the trick. Soft, round, flat and fresh is all you need. Brioche buns are pretty good for this burger. The sweetness of the bread works well in balance with the tangy salsa. Ultimately, it’s all about what’s in the burger that counts. The bun does not maketh the burger… or something like that.
115g beef mince (at least 10% fat) for each burger
Tomatillo Salsa Verde
Mayonnaise, shop-bought or homemade
Salt and pepper
For the Salsa Verde (Makes enough for about 4 burgers)
1 Sweet pepper
1 shallot or half a small onion, diced
1 tablespoon of roughly chopped coriander
Salt and Pepper
Remove the papery husk from the tomatillos and wash the sticky residue off under a tap. Remove the stems from the pepper and chilli. Place tomatillos, pepper and chilli on a baking pan and then put under the grill, on the highest oven shelf. No need for oil, just let them burn. Check after about 5 minutes, once the tops are blackened they are good to go.
Let cool and then transfer with all the juices to a food processor and whizz until its coarsely blended but not so much that it’s a smooth puree. Pour salsa into a mixing bowl and then add coriander and onion. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Weigh out each burger and then with your hands, form into a ball and then press into a flat disc. Keep in mind that the burger will tighten up while cooking so make them flat and wide as possible, they should be about 1.5cm high and roughly as wide as your burger bun.
Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and add your burger. Now you can salt the top of your burger with a couple of pinches of salt. Keep a spatula handy and press down on your burger. You want to cook each side for about 3-4 minutes, making sure you have nice browning going on (Brown = Flavour). Flip when ready and salt again. Halfway through cooking the second side, add a slice of cheese. At this point, I use a pot lid to cover the burger. This traps steam and helps the cheese to melt. Once the time is up, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate or cooling rack and let the burger sit for a couple of minutes. This helps drain off some of the juices, instead of soaking into your bun and making it soggy.
To put together the burger; cut open your bun and spread mayonnaise, followed by a dollop of salsa verde to each half. Add the burger and you’re good to go.