Here's complex flavor and a blend of softness and crunch in a fast, meatless burger. The trick is to chop the tuna into pieces that are fine enough so that they adhere to one another, but not so fine that the mixture becomes mushy (see the photos above). For that reason, it's best to do the chopping with a knife, not in a food processor or blender. It helps to work with tuna that has firmed up in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Serve on toasted ciabatta bread or sesame hamburger buns; have thin slices of cucumber and pickled onion and ginger as accompaniments. The tuna burgers taste great as cold leftovers, too.
- 1 1/2 pounds tuna steak, cut into 1/4-inch slices (discarding any white fat)
- 1 tablespoon miso paste
- 1/2 teaspoon prepared wasabi
- 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 4 scallions, white and light-green parts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon canola oil, for coating the patties
Prepare the grill. If using a gas grill, heat it to medium-high. If using a charcoal grill, start the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly under the cooking area for direct heat. Oil the grate.
Chop the tuna just enough so that when you press some between your fingers, the pieces stick together; discard any thin, white layers of fat (to avoid mushiness, don't cut the pieces too fine). Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the miso, wasabi, soy sauce and scallions, mixing just until combined. Use a light touch to form 4 patties no more than 1 inch thick. Use the tablespoon of canola oil to lightly coat all 4 patties on both sides. With the lid open, grill for 3 minutes, until light on the outside and pink on the inside, then flip over and grill for 3 minutes (for medium-rare, burgers will not look cooked through); for medium, grill for 1 additional minute per side. Serve hot. If serving on buns, keep the burgers separate from the buns until just before eating.
Adapted from "Mastering the Grill," by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim (Chronicle, 2007).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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