Tuna Burgers with Wasabi Mayonnaise

Bring on the Burgers!

Okay, so this weekend officially marks the beginning of Burger Season. I’m embarking on a burger bash that will probably go on all summer, or at least until I run out of charcoal.

And, for those of you who are interested, check me out on TV! The Build a Better Burger III Challenge is on Food Network this Monday, May 28th. I’m cringing in anticipation. At least I can tell you that I wasn’t one of the winners, and that the Iron Chef-style judging was a little grueling. My finalist recipe for Coconut Basil Chicken burgers is on the Food Network site.

Back to reality, these tuna burgers are at the top of my favorites list. Admittedly, the price of tuna has risen alarmingly since I last made these – I’m talking twenty bucks a pound – and I hesitated a moment before buying it. But after eating them, I can say it’s worth the splurge. And possibly, the price of tuna will vary if you happen to live next to an ocean.

The recipe is from Sara Foster and appeared in Cottage Living magazine. I didn’t change much; just switched panko for the bread crumbs and tweaked the seasoning a little.

I have to add that the wasabi mayonnaise is extra-tasty made with Kewpie mayonnaise (have a look at their interesting website) from Japan. It’s my new favorite condiment. Did you know that the Japanese are crazy about mayonnaise? Kewpie is smoother and eggier than my Hellmann’s and made with rice vinegar. I love the star tip on the container, which produces decorative mayonnaise swirls when you squeeze the container.

For more creative food-blogger burgers, have a look at Writing at the Kitchen Table. Freya and Paul are hosting Big Burger Ballyhoo. I can’t wait to see the results.

Tuna Burgers with Wasabi Mayonnaise

Makes 6 burgers

2 pounds very cold, skinless yellowfin tuna, cut into chunks (I chill the tuna in the freezer for 10 minutes before starting – it’s a lot easier to chop and handle)
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup panko crumbs
2 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
A few handfuls mixed salad greens
6 hamburger buns, split and toasted
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced
Fresh chives

Wasabi Mayonnaise:
1 cup mayonnaise
2 minced green onions
2 teaspoons wasabi powder
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place first 4 ingredients in a food processor. Pulse briefly, just until the mixture is roughly chopped. Add the panko, onions, ginger, soy sauce and pepper; pulse again to combine. Form into 6 patties and place on a baking sheet or shallow baking dish. Cover and chill 30 minutes.

2. Mix together all ingredients for the Wasabi Mayonnaise, cover and chill until serving time.

3. Grill the burgers over medium-high heat about 3 minutes per side. Be careful not to overcook; these are best removed from the grill rare and left loosely covered for a few minutes to finish cooking to medium-rare. Overcooked tuna will be dry.

4. Serve the burgers on lettuce lined buns and topped with the wasabi mayonnaise, avocado slices and chives.

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Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food

Lamb Burgers and Oven-Roasted French Fries

A meal for two hands

Burgers are on the same page as pasta in my book of perfect, comforting meals. They both inspire endless possibilities for one-dish meals and can be sauced and spiced in any number of ways. But, and I hate to admit this, I might have to give burgers the edge on simplicity because I can eat them with my hands – a meal between two pieces of bread. What could be better than that?

I have a penchant for creating and eating burgers – for the past couple of years I’ve been entering the Build a Better Burger contest, which is held every October on the front lawn of Sutter Home Winery in Napa. I have high hopes of someday winning some cash and wearing my Queen of all Burgers sash. I’m already gearing up for another season of burger mania, so keep it tuned as I get grilling.

Sarah over at Avenue Food inspired the sauce for these lamb burgers – I’ve been finding all kinds of uses for it from saucing grilled chicken to topping my burgers.

Lamb Burgers with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Quick Pickled Onions

makes 6 servings

2 pounds ground lamb
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 split, toasted hamburger buns

To make the burgers, combine all ingredients in a large bowl – try not to manhandle the mixture too much. You’re aiming for patties that are tender and juicy, not compacted hockey pucks. Eyeball the mixture into six portions. I do this by dividing it in half, then making three equal portions out of each half. Some fanatics use scales and measuring cups to achieve perfect portions. I leave that up to you.

Grill the patties on a medium-hot charcoal or gas grill about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Serve on toasted buns with the following condiments, or your own favorites.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained
4 ounces soft goat cheese
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
alt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat the garlic in the olive oil over medium-low heat for a few minutes. This removes the heat of the raw garlic. Place in a food processor and puree with remaining ingredients until smooth.

Quick Pickled Onions

1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

Put the onion in a medium bowl and toss with the sugar and vinegar. Marinate 15-30 minutes.

Oven-Roasted French Fries

2 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled
1/4 cup peanut oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise, then into 6 planks from each half. Toss on a rimmed baking sheet with the oil, salt and pepper. Roast about 25 minutes, or until tender and golden brown.

Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food