It is my pleasure to introduce my first guest blogger, David, who also happens to be my husband and the original cook in the family.
First, I need to admit that I am a hamburger lunatic. I love hamburgers! I love good hamburgers, not-so-good hamburgers, some fast food burgers—basically any kind of cooked protein on a bun.
As you have heard, Heather does not eat beef or lamb or anything you really can make a burger out of, so I end up having my own grass-fed beef burger (aka Greg burger) while Heather has a portobella burger or just eats vegetables.
After watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives Monday night, Heather announced she really wanted one of my famous tuna burgers, which was a good idea in that we both really like them, so I complied with this request.
You must understand this is a truly great burger. Not just a substitute for a beef burger, but a stand-alone, really delicious burger in its own right. Sometimes, it tastes even better than a burger burger.
So yesterday I went to my secret seafood source in SA and bought a 1 lb. chunk of yellowfin tuna. It is important that this hunk of fish be extremely fresh. Not a local supermarket variety unless your local grocery store is fabuloso.
I prefer to grill these gems on a wood fire, however, one needs to be a fairly accomplished griller to be able to cook these without them falling apart or burning. I have never tried a gas-grill but I think that involves the same issue. So, if you are not “in the big leagues of grilling,” cook them in a cast iron skillet on the stove.
As a major carnivore, I can tell you that these burgers are really spectacular. They are also great for people who don’t eat meat, but do eat seafood and crave that substantial “burger” indulgence.
By the way, you can also roll the tuna mixture (eliminating the wasabi, hot sauce and soy sauce, but add a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes) into meatballs and brown them and then drop them in a marinara sauce and serve over “sketti” (pasta). Stay tuned for a future blog on the tuna meatballs. Until then, “happy trails.”
Senor David de la Cala
Grilled Tuna Burgers
Anyone who loves a burger--with beef--will flip for this version using fresh tuna. This pescatarian burger is meaty and hearty but light and tasty making it the ideal alternative. Add pickled ginger to give it a super Asian twist or pickled red onions for a Mexican slant.
- 1 lb. yellowfin tuna chopped coarsely
- 1/4 cup yellow onion finely chopped
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley finely chopped
- 3 shots your choice of bottled hot sauce Tabasco or Sriracha, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper or black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme chopped
- Juice of 1/2 a large lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon squeeze of wasabi paste or a 1/2 teaspoon of wasabi powder
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic finely diced
- 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste optional
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Coarsely chop the tuna.
Add the rest of the ingredients and then add the olive oil over everything. Mix thoroughly with your hands or a large spoon and form into a 1/2-inch thick patty, or patties to your liking. Be sure to make patties that are thick enough, as you do not want thin burgers...they just won't work.
Place patties on a plate, cover with wax paper or Saran wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. However, overnight is best, as the flavors meld and they tend to really firm up making cooking them much easier.
Oil the grill grate or spray with Pam and get the grill very hot. Put the patty on the spatula and carefully slide it onto the grill. DO NOT FLIP THE BURGERS until a crust has formed or they will fall apart.
This will take approximately 5-6 minutes for each side. The burgers will not come out rare or medium-rare, but will be fully cooked, although still moist from all of the ingredients added above.
As soon as the burgers come off the grill, squeeze a little lemon, sprinkle a little salt (preferably Maldon salt) and add fresh ground pepper. Place on a good quality, soft bun and serve with sliced red onion and wasabi mayo, which can be made by adding the wasabi paste or powder to a little mayo.