Saturday, May 14, 2016

Tuna Burgers with Ginger and Cilantro

When I have high quality tuna, I usually do a very simple recipe--why mess with the beautiful taste.  But I've been holding in the freezer some tuna I got from a Portland, OR supplier via Sitka Salmon Shares.  The portions came very thick and oddly shaped, a challenge to sear in a pan or broil.  I had time for some leisurely preparation yesterday, so I decided to make tuna burgers, and found this recipe from Fine Cooking magazine in my file.  It's also available on the web, so go here for enticing photos, and links to some complementary recipes (rice noodle salad and melons with ginger syrup) that also look great.  I've adapted the recipe a bit, below.  And you definitely want to serve it with the dipping sauce.  No buns--would detract from the delectable taste and add pointless calories. Note that the burgers need to chill for at least 20 minutes after you shape them, and that the sauce should stand for at least 30 minutes before serving.  So--a good meal to make ahead; just sauté the burgers right before serving.

serves 4

1 lb. fresh tuna fillet
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
2 T. chopped red onion (or scallion)
2 T. lite mayonnaise
1-1/2 t. minced fresh ginger
1/2 t. Sriracha sauce (or minced fresh hot red or green chile peppers)
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper

1-2 T. canola oil (for sautéing the burgers)

Cut the tuna into 1" chunks and, in two batches, pulse 3-4 times in the food processor--until just chopped.  (Or, you can cut the tuna into a 1/4" dice.)

Gently stir in the cilantro, onion, mayonnaise, ginger, Sriracha, and black pepper. Shape into four thick patties--recipe said 1", though mine were less.  Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 20 minutes and up to 4 hours--or longer.  I made four patties, cooked two last night, and then left the other two in the fridge so that I could cook them fresh this evening.  Still just fine!

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  (Cook on the stove rather than broiling or grilling--gives greater control over the heat, easier to keep the center medium-rare.)  Cook the burgers until nicely browned on both sides (flipping half-way through), but still pink in the center, 2-4 minutes total.  Serve with Thai-style dipping sauce.


1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 rounded T. sugar (original recipe called for 2-1/2 T; less was fine)
2 T. fish sauce
1-1/2 t. rice vinegar
2 t. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 t. minced garlic (I used jarred)
1/2 t. Sriracha sauce (or minced fresh hot red or green chile peppers)

Combine all the ingredients and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Let stand at least 30 minutes before serving so that the flavors can develop and blend.