Recently, I dug out a recipe for tuna burgers that I used to make all the time. I came across the original recipe in a Williams-Sonoma cookbook called Fresh & Light and fell in love with its clean, fresh flavors. Chopped sushi-grade tuna is mixed with fresh ginger and scallions, molded into patties, pan fried and then topped with cucumber, sprouts and a zippy pickled ginger and wasabi-infused mayonnaise.
I've altered the proportions over the years, upping the wasabi and fresh ginger, and I use a full egg instead of the recommended egg white, as well as regular mayo instead of fat-free. Instead of stopping at medium-rare, I like to cook the burgers just through -- I find that a little bit of heat makes the ginger and scallions really sing. And finally, I serve the tuns burgers on brioche rolls instead of the sesame bagels called for in the original -- they make for a much more delicate burger, and their richness is a nice complement to all the clean, fresh flavors. —Merrill Stubbs
scallions, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
minced fresh ginger
large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 pounds
sushi-grade ahi tuna, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
box broccoli or alfalfa sprouts
Wasabi Ginger Mayonnaise
finely chopped pickled ginger (the pink, sweet kind you get with sushi)
Combine the scallions, ginger, egg and tuna in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Form the mixture into 6 patties (they will be quite loose), set on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Put the burgers in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to firm up a little.
Meanwhile, slice the cucumber into wide ribbons using a peeler and make the wasabi ginger mayonnaise: stir together the mayonnaise, wasabi and pickled ginger. Add a little water if needed to thin the mayo. Cover and set aside.
Set a large, nonstick pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon oil. When the oil is hot, add the burgers to the pan in batches. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, about three minutes. Flip and cook for another few minutes, until just cooked through (you can stop the burgers at medium rare, but I like them closer to medium/medium-well). Keep in a warm place while you cook the rest of the burgers.
Toast the buns and serve the burgers on top, with a generous dollop of the wasabi mayonnaise, a handful of sprouts and a few ribbons of cucumber.