One of the best-kept secrets in the burger world is to skip the beef or turkey and make it a tuna burger with spicy slaw. Fresh tuna is meaty like steak with a mild flavor that works well with all kinds of ingredients especially Asian inspired ones. Best of all, tuna burgers are lean protein and hold up on the grill in the heat of the summer.
About fresh tuna: Tuna is found in oceans all over the world. If you can get fresh tuna in your neck of the woods, buy it and stick with it. A tuna’s origin is always labeled, so if your fish guy is selling ‘fresh’ tuna from Grenada or Thailand, skip it along with the hefty price tag. Fresh frozen tuna from far away is an excellent option and Trader Joes sells wild caught yellow fin tuna, flash frozen, for about $6.00/pound.
Secret ingredient: The Asian flavors in the recipe are practically begging for this secret ingredient: water chestnuts. They add a light crunch without fat, salt or many calories.
Wasabi: Wasabi is sushi’s best friend. But, this condiment that’s actually a (shredded) root also works well in lots of Asian inspired dishes looking for a little heat. Wasabi can be found in the Asian section of most supermarkets either as a ready to use paste or a powder (just add water).
- Juice of ½ lime
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 ½ lbs. fresh tuna steak cut into chunks
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- Small bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
- 8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained
- Neutral oil for grilling burgers
- 1-teaspoon wasabi paste
- Juice of ½ lime
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ red cabbage very thinly sliced or shredded
- Salt and pepper
- Toasted buns for serving
- Tuna: In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, soy sauce and sesame oil. Set aside.
- Place tuna, ginger, scallions, water chestnuts and soy mixture in a food processor and lightly pulse until combined. Form into 6 burgers. Brush with a neutral oil such as grape seed or canola.
- Preheat grill or grill pan to high. Cook burgers 4-5 minutes per side for medium rare.
- Slaw: In a large bowl mix together wasabi paste, lime juice and mayonnaise. Add shredded cabbage and toss to coat. Add a few cranks pepper and more salt if necessary. Serve on top of tuna burgers.