They are healthy, easy, and quick to prepare. A little time is all they need in the fridge to firm up before cooking. Tuna burgers are way more flavorful than plain white fish for dinner and a great alternative to burgers.
A heads up: When I prepare these tuna burgers, they aren't cooked all the way through, so it's important to select best-quality, sashimi-grade tuna from your fishmonger. The fresh tuna should be very cold for easy slicing and chopping for its transformation into tiny cubes formed into patties. The outside is seared and the inside stays tender and rare. Sounds strange, tastes out of this world.
I should add credit where credit is due. Almost everything I know about basic cooking I learned from Food Network in college. But if you know me, you know I am not a huge fan of Bobby Flay. I just don't think we'd get along. (Oh, but his wife is one of my favorite actresses from the glory days of Law & Order: SVU. More college TV confessions.) But Bobby's food is nothing short of terrific.
These tuna burgers were inspired by the man himself. I'm not a sore loser. Bobby, you got this one really, really right. The recipe follows.
Fresh Tuna Burgers
1 1/4 pounds fresh, sashimi grade tuna steaks
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, very finely minced
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or smoked paprika)
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
sprinkle of onion powder
First, cut tuna into small cubes using a sharp knife. They should be approximately 1/4-inch thick and at most about 1/2-inch.
In a large bowl, gently mix tuna cubes with the rest of the ingredients, then refrigerate about 30 minutes to let the mixture firm up. This is an important step because it will help the mixture hold together. Form into patties and refrigerate until ready to use, no more than an hour or so.
In a large non-stick skillet, heat canola or vegetable oil to medium high. Gently lay the patties into the pan and sear 1-2 minutes per side, flipping carefully. They will be cooked medium, not all the way through, especially in the middle. Don't overcook them or they will fall apart!
Makes 4 burgers. Serve on a bun or on a bed of butter lettuce with avocado, sriracha, and cilantro.
*If you don't love spicy/smoky foods, or for an Asian twist, try substituting some sesame seeds and a touch of toasted sesame oil in place of the chili powder.