Any firm, fatty fish—salmon, mackerel, bluefish swordfish—is sturdy enough for making burgers, but we’re especially fond of using tuna. Finely chopped raw tuna is surprisingly similar in appearance and texture to lean beef, and it holds its shape well when fashioned into a burger. You can find jars of thinly sliced pickled ginger at any Japanese grocer and at some well-stocked grocery stores.
Sichuan Tuna Burgers with Pickled-Ginger Relish
- 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) tuna steak, cut into small chunks
- 1 Tbs. red miso paste
- 1/2 tsp. prepared wasabi
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- 4 green onions, white and pale green parts, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) pieces
For the pickled ginger relish:
- 1/2 cup (3 oz./90 g) pickled ginger, finely chopped
- Finely chopped zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- 3 green onions, white and pale green portions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 Tbs. soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp. fish sauce
- 1 Tbs. canola oil or other mild vegetable oil
- 4 hamburger buns, split
1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill.
2. Chop the tuna finely enough so that when you press some between your fingers, it clings to itself. Do not chop so finely that it becomes mushy. You can use a sharp knife and a sturdy cutting board or a food processor. If using a food processor, use the pulse button and be careful to stop pulsing before the fish is reduced to a puree.
3. Transfer the fish to a bowl and mix in the miso, wasabi, soy sauce and green onions just until well blended. Do not overmix. Using a light touch, with wet hands, form the mixture into 4 patties no more than 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Refrigerate until the grill is ready.
4. To make the pickled ginger relish, in a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Use immediately, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
5. Brush the grill grate and coat with oil. Coat the patties on both sides with the oil. Put the patties on the grate, cover the grill and cook for 3 minutes. Turn the burgers and cook uncovered for 3 minutes longer for medium-rare. Add 1 minute per side for medium-well.
6. To toast the buns, place them, cut side down, on the grate over the fire 1 minute before the burgers are ready. If serving the burgers directly from the grill, serve on the buns. If the burgers will sit for even a few minutes, keep the buns and burgers separate until just before eating. Top each burger with a heaping spoonful of the ginger relish and serve immediately. Serves 4.
For this recipe and other secrets on how to make fabulous food
on the grill, check out our essential guide to cooking on fire,
Grill School, by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim.