The star of yesterday’s shabbos lunch was these delicious tuna burgers, which I served with my famous Apricot Chutney.
What I love about tuna burgers is, you can eat them at any temperature, without running the risk of having some congealed fat form on the edges, as it does on meat burgers. Much leaner, and full of flavor. Because you can eat them at room temperature, you won’t feel compelled to wipe them out: You’ll be happy to find them the next day, as I am now, contentedly munching on them, sans bun!
So what’s the recipe for tuna burgers? None whatsoever! First of all, I ignore the fresh tuna at fish stores, which I simply cannot afford. The day I want to buy a pound of anything raw and unprepared for $25.00 a pound, I simply go to a restaurant for G-d’s sake, and let them cook for me and serve me! And yes, since I’m always asked “how can you stand to order in a restaurant?” the answer is, if it is good and fresh, and it leaves my kitchen clean and gives me a break, and someone else cooks for me once in a while, bring it on down!”
So here’s what I do: I buy tuna steaks, individually vacuum-packed and frozen. I can decide at the drop of a hat if tuna will be dinner that night. I take out as many tuna steaks as I need and cut around the wrapping with scissors. I now have perfect, sushi quality delicious tuna. Most often, I do one of three things:
- I put them in a very hot skillet with a few drops of oil, about 2 minutes on each side, for medium rare. Then I let the steaks rest a few minutes before I slice them against the grain.
- I soak the steaks in their wrapping in warm water for just a few minutes to soften the flesh before I cut the wrapping, then grind them coarsely in a food processor, using the pulse button. I add only salt and pepper, then form thick patties I throw in a hot skillet with a few drops olive oil, and sear them 1 minute on each side, a drop more for medium rare.
- I grind them coarse, just as above, and make tuna tartare.
Now I have fun with the toppings and take them burgers different places each time:
- Serve them the traditional burger way, on a bun, or with no bun, with ketchup, mustard, sliced tomatoes, fried onions, etc…
- Just a mixture of toasted sesame oil, grated ginger, soy sauce.
- Wasabi powder mixed with a little water and a little sugar.
- Cocktail sauce: One of my favorites, as it is so lean and bold.
- Apricot Chutney. It’s in my first cookbook, Levana’s Table: If you don’t have it, I can’t recommend it enough! I just can’t tell you how many fabulous recipes you will find there.