1½ pounds lean ground pork
1 teaspoon caraway seed
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ medium onion
1 clove garlic
2-3 fresh sage leaves (may substitute 2 teaspoons dried sage)
4 plum or Roma tomatoes, as ripe as possible
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1½ tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Combine the pork, caraway seed, cumin, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Blend with your fingers, being careful not to overmix. Shape into 8 equal portions, then shape each one into a ½-inch-thick patty.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large, nonreactive skillet over medium heat (see headnote). Once the oil shimmers, add 5 of the patties and cook for 5 minutes on the first side, then turn them over and cook for 3 to 5 minutes on the second side. Transfer to a serving platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm; as they are done, add the remaining patties and cook in the same way (no need to add oil to the skillet).
While the burgers are cooking, finely chop the onion and mince the garlic and fresh sage. Cut the tomatoes into ¼-inch pieces, reserving any juices.
Drain the fat from the skillet. Add the olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, stirring to coat. Cook for about 8 minutes, until they have softened, being careful not to brown the garlic. Stir in the tomato paste; cook for 1 minute. Add the vinegar and the tomatoes and their juices. Increase the heat to medium-high; cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes or until just bubbling. Taste, and add salt and/or pepper as needed.
Place two burgers on each plate. Pour sauce over each portion. Serve hot.
Nutrition values per serving: 400 calories, 28 g fat (9 g saturated), 6 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 3 g sugar. 32 g protein, 110 mg cholesterol, 270 mg sodium.
Adapted from "A Chef's Tale: A Memoir of Food, France and America" by Pierre Franey with Richard Flaste and Bryan Miller (Alfred A. Knopf, 1994)