Lamb Hamburger with Garlic and Pepper

I ate something rather like this at Stars restaurant in San Francisco. Americans do not appear to eat lamb in the quantity we do, so a dish this simple and good was a surprise; a tribute to the inventive talent of Jeremiah Tower, the chef-proprietor of Stars.


  • lb (675 g) lamb, minced
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 oz (25 g) unsalted butter


  1. Poach the whole garlic cloves in 10 fl oz (300 ml) water until tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Crush the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle or grind them very coarsely in a mill.
  3. Salt the lamb, which should have at least some fat, and press it into four hamburgers. Roll them in the cracked pepper.
  4. Heat a frying pan. Brush the hamburgers with olive oil and then cook them briefly, around 2 minutes on each side. They should still be rare. Place a lamb hamburger on each warmed plate.
  5. Deglaze the frying pan with the garlic and its cooking liquor. Add the tomato, coriander and butter. Shake the pan to amalgamate the melting butter.
  6. Spoon the sauce over the lamb, and serve with salad.