9.22.2018

The Last Hurrah

Quick! While there is still time, fire up the grill and make the most of the season.

Those of you in the northern hemisphere know what weather you are in for next. And, while we don’t know for sure what your winter will be like, we can safely assume it won’t be grilling weather.

This is a great season to take advantage of outdoor cooking and dining. It’s cooling down, but still pleasant and with fewer flying insects.

Living in a very meat-forward region, where we even have social clubs for cow folk, there comes a time, toward the end of grilling season, when we crave something lighter.

Maybe it isn’t even about the lightness; maybe we simply want something different.

We savored the steaks. Relished the ribs. Loved the lamb chops.

But it’s time for tuna. Seared tuna fillets are lovely and quite easy, however - as with my Shiitake Burgers a couple of weeks ago - I opted for an Asian preparation with an American bent: spicy tuna burgers.

I served them with a traditional bottom bun (although those coconut rice cakes from the Shiitake Burger post would be wonderful with this!), slathered them with the same spicy sesame-ginger mayonnaise, and topped them with marinated cucumbers. For a side, I sautéed edamame with shiitake mushrooms.

Meaty, but no meat. Just what we wanted.

~ David

Spicy Tuna Burgers

3/4 pound tuna fillet, very cold
a 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and coarsely grated
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 

2 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon sesame-ginger mayonnaise (see below)
grated zest of 1 lime
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sambal oelek
1/2 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
4 leaves basil, chopped

1 hamburger bun, sliced in half horizontally


Sesame-Ginger Mayonnaise
Recipe in this POST - make in the morning or previous day

Marinated Cucumbers
1 Kirby (pickling) cucumber, (or part of a larger variety, peeled and seeded)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar


toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Make the mayonnaise. This is best done a day in advance. You can also use commercial mayonnaise to which you will need to add some grated ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce and a little samba oelek. If you make fresh mayonnaise, you will have a lot leftover. If you doctor commercial mayonnaise, add the flavorings to 1/2 cup mayo, but use lesser amounts.

Wash and slice cucumbers thinly. Toss them with the sugar and vinegar and let sit to marinate for at least 20 minutes, up to an hour.

Dice the tuna finely - no large than 1/4 inch. (It is easier to do when the tuna is very cold - even partially frozen.) Mix all the burger ingredients well and form into two large patties. Cover and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. Heat your grill - charcoal or gas - to high.

When the grill is hot, oil the grate very well, as the tuna will stick. Place “burgers” on the grill and cook about 2 minutes per side, depending on how rare you like your tuna. When you flip them, move them to a portion of the grill that is oiled but has not yet been used. This will reduce sticking on the second side.

Place cooked burgers on half a bun, top with a generous dollop of the mayonnaise, and arrange some pickled cucumber slices on top. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Serves 2.



38 comments:

  1. Huh ? A very ignorant Australian wondering why one cannot grill inside as well as out :) ? Well, I certainly do !! And why 'burgers and fries' seems to be SO popular up north - I love carbs, but thrice the healthy amount per portion ? Love tuna, love your recipe heading north from Indonesia I would say and shall make it soonest akin that 'other burger' we all loved . . .

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    1. I think that, although we share a common language, grilling in the U.S. means charcoal and outdoors, as opposed to a grill pan on the stove. But both work fine, Eha!

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    2. David - I have been 'part' of the blogworld for nearly eight years . . . this is the very first time I have received a logical reply to which I say 'yes' ! I thank you ! 'Tis is similar with 'burger and fries' - not that it is not available nor even popular, but it simply is not a 'given' . . . my best . . . and, David, :) !, we do not always share the same language . . . fun . . .

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    3. I’m really fascinated by countries that are divided by a common language. (Apologies to Churchill!)

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    4. If you ever have 5 minutes for a smile: YouTube, 'My Fair Lady' concert version in Royal Albert Hall, Jeremy Irons at about 5:44 in . . . and, no, I am an 'opera freak'; :) ! Churchill giving you a grin and a nod . . .

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    5. “In America they haven’t used it for years!” Bravo, Jeremy (who looked his best at this age...)

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    6. Sugar, Milord, now I am embarrassed to bits but laughing . . . I actually know the guy from the days he made 'The Wild Duck' with my best gf's daughter, BUT: he has just a wee point at times . . .

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  2. Over here, we still spend most of the days in opened spaces although we patiently wait for our local butcher to make Oktoberfest sausages :-) These tuna burgers will definitely make our waiting much easier. Thank you David !

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    1. I hope the weather holds out for our visit to Sicily! Glad the burgers appeal!

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  3. Gorgeous presentation. I have not grilled once this season! Too much painting and other outside construction projects. But the end of of the home improvement is near and, like you, we can stretch our grilling season out long into the winter. GREG

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    1. Not once, Greg? Wowser... I guess you have been busy. Glad the season still lingers for you!

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  4. My Grillmeister ( aka husband) needs to grill these for me. I will do all the prep work. Thanks!

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  5. What a lovely presentation! I've never made tuna burgers, but it's funny that I'm seeing this now as I pulled a tin of tuna from the cupboard this morning to have for lunch! NOT quite on par with your creation, but I do love tuna in most forms!

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    1. Tuna is pretty wonderful, Christina! For the canned, do you use tuna packed in olive oil?

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  6. This is lovely David. Especially since I'm still in denial about summer's passing...

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    1. It comes and goes so quickly, Inger! Enjoy it as much as you can!

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  7. David, this recipe is calling for me. I wouldn't care if it was raining, I'd head out to the grill for this. You've combine such delicious flavors and the presentation is so pretty.

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    1. Mom used to say often: presentation is 9/10s of the law... or was it 9/10s of the enjoyment? Thanks for your kind comment, Valentina! xo

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  8. I love this fresh and yummy burger! In Paris as well it seems that the BBQ season is almost over... Nevertheless your burger looks terrific ;)

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    1. Thanks, Romain - even though grilling season may be over in Paris, it is still Paris - and that makes you one of the luckiest people in the world!

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  9. Oooh I love the sound of this, what a great last hurrah to summer with all these flavours.

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    1. They are some of my favorite flavors, Caroline!

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  10. It's always time for tuna! Salmon burgers are pretty common, but tuna much less so for some reason. I'm guilty, too -- I almost never use tuna in a burger. Thanks for reminding me of the error of my ways -- terrific recipe.

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    1. We love salmon burgers, too, but there is something special about these John - I think you will like them!

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  11. What a refreshing burger you have there. I could eat the tuna patty raw, but a flash char sounds good. I'm thinking I'll try it on sushi rice pressed into the shape of the bottom of a bun. Great post David.

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    1. I think the rice bun would be perfect for this, Ron! You are so fortunate to get such good, fish fish where you are.

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  12. Oh, David, this would wow the most jaded griller at the end of summer! Love that combination of flavors.

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    1. Thanks, Jean. I feel lucky in AZ that grilling season is 365 days.

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  13. OMG this looks amazing. I love the pickled cucumbers!

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    1. Thanks, Colette! The cukes are such a wonderful condiment!

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  14. My husband would absolutely adore this...so flavorful.

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  15. I'm thinking how I may struggle to even cook this tuna mix without eating most of it raw. Delicious flavours!.I can't stop salivating!

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    1. It is a good combination, John, and raw would be just fine!

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  16. Unfortunately outdoor grilling season has long passed in Scotland, we are in full Autumn/Winter mode now. But this does sound like a lovely fresh tasty barbecue food to enjoy.

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    1. You could cheat, Emma, and griddle fry them inside! Stay warm!

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