I don’t miss meat very much. I was never a big meat-eater, so giving it up a few years ago was really easy. But I did miss burgers. Not the meat so much…I liked the big, fat, juicy tomatoes, lettuce, red onions, pickles and perfectly toasted bun. So veggie burgers pretty much filled that void. Until I had the ahi tuna burger at J. Alexanders. I love it! It’s been on their “special” menu for the last year or so but they have yet to put it on the regular menu, so I fully expect to go one day and be told it’s gone, never to be had again.
I’ve been on a quest to find a recipe, one that was relatively simple, healthy, and tasty. I have tried a few variations, but they mostly ended up tasting like crab cakes. So yesterday I decided to 86 the bread crumbs and mayonnaise and try to keep it mostly tuna. Surprisingly, even without an egg or mayo to bind it, they held together quite nicely! We were too hungry to wait for the grill to heat up, so I pan-fried them with a tiny bit of olive oil, and they were delicious!
The wasabi mayo was for Jeff, who likes a little spice, but mine was perfectly fine without it. I will say, start with a little less wasabi, and add more to taste. That stuff is strong!
This was seriously a simple meal. From start to finish…45 minutes. But I think next time I’ll make up the burgers in the morning and keep them in the fridge until cooking. They were extremely thick burgers, and 2-3 minutes on each side was plenty! If you use sushi quality tuna, you could cook them even less for rare.
Ahi Tuna Burgers with Wasabi Mayonnaise
1/4 cup mayo (I used reduced fat)
1/2-1 teaspoon prepared wasabi paste (start with 1/2 tsp, increase to taste)
juice from 1/2 lime
Whisk all ingredients together, store in refrigerator. Will keep for several days.
2 8-oz pieces of yellowfin or ahi tuna, roughly chopped
1-2 Tbsp. Sesame Oil
3/4 tsp kosher salt (or himalayan pink salt)
3/4 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, leaves only, chopped coarsely
2 Tbsp chopped scallions
1 clove chopped garlic
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 Kaiser type buns
Red onion, thinly sliced
First make the mayo: Place lime juice, mayo, wasabi paste, and a little salt and pepper to small bowl, whisk until blended well.
For the burgers:
Chop the tuna, place in food processor.
Add cilantro, scallions, garlic, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Top with sesame oil.
Pulse the mixture a few times until roughly ground. Don’t puree!
Form the mixture into two large burgers, or four smaller ones. If making two large burgers, make sure your buns are large enough. These burgers don’t shrink up like beef does, since the fat content is so low!
Cook on medium heat (either in grill pan on the grill or frying pan on the stove coated with a little olive oil). 2-3 minutes each side, or to desired level of doneness.
Toast the buns, top with lettuce, tomato, onion and avocado. Use mayonnaise sparingly, or to taste.
The oven fried potatoes were super easy…Slice into strips, toss with a couple TBSP of olive or sesame oil, sprinkle with seasonings of your choice (I used kosher salt, course black pepper, garlic powder, and some finely chopped fresh rosemary and thyme.) Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes until browned, turning at the halfway mark.