Tuna Burgers

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Tuna burgers aren’t quite as popular, in my opinion, as salmon burgers. It’s probably because salmon is more fatty and moist, so burgers made with prepared salmon are more apt to be moist and tender.

Tuna doesn’t have the richness of salmon, but it is delicate and flaky, and can definitely lend itself to a burger-type preparation.

So whenever I grill a large amount of tuna, I saved the leftover tuna for burgers.

The fun thing with tuna burgers is that so many approaches can be taken. Do you want Asian burgers? Easy! Do you want them Indian? Really easy! Mexican? Sure!

For these burgers, I decided on Mediterranean flavors.

Here’s what I did.

Mediterranean-Inspired Tuna Burgers

Leftover grilled tuna, about 8 ounces, at room temperature
2 eggs
2 tablespoons good mayonnaise
Roasted red bell peppers, diced
Kalamata olives, diced
2 shallots, minced
Chopped parsley
Sweet paprika
Salt
White pepper
Crumbled goat cheese
Bread crumbs, as necessary

Crumble or chop the tuna and place in a small bowl; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth. Whisk in the mayonnaise. Add the bell peppers, olives, shallots, and parsley and gently stir. Season with the paprika, salt, and pepper.

Combine with the flaked tuna. Add goat cheese to taste.

Slowly add bread crumbs just until the mixture firms up. (See note.) Form four burgers, place them in a baking dish, and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the burgers until lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes.

Serve hot.

I included a capered mayonnaise with these burgers, which I served without bread.

A good mustard or mustard-mayo mixture would be good, too. Or mayonnaise mixed with paprika creme.

I hope you can tell how tender the tuna burgers are.

Note: When I catered ladies’ lunches for one special client, she often asked me to make crab cakes. They weren’t that unique, but I do believe that they were popular because of their moistness. If you make crab cakes or tuna burgers meat-heavy instead of breadcrumb-heavy, they are a little harder to work with, but they will be tastier and much more enjoyable.

Embracing the 21st Century

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It might seem odd to admit this, being that I’ve been cooking for about 40 years, but I’ve never owned a Kitchen Aid stand mixer.

Why? Well for one thing, I’m more a cook than a baker. For another reason, I have a really old house. My countertop surface area is limited, as well as the vertical space from countertop to the above cupboards. So I haven’t been interested in a giant appliance that would monopolize my kitchen work space.

Well, here we are in 2017. I just received my first Kitchen Aid stand mixer, Artisanal Series. I purchased it at an incredible post-Christmas sale price of $278.00.

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What prompted me to finally give in was that my sister-in-law sent me a Kitchen Aid spiralizer attachment for Christmas. She, of course, assumed I already owned a stand mixer, like most people do.

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I called her to say “thank you” but “no thank you.” But that’s when I got chided into embracing the 21st Century kitchen. I thought long and hard, but finally gave in. So now I own a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, and a spiralizer attachment.

When considering how to christen my spiralizer, I immediately thought of zoodles, which are zucchini noodles. And then I saw this photo online.

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I’d love to give somebody credit, but the photo was on Pinterest with no information associated with it. I just knew I had to test out my new spiralizer in order to make these burgers!

I opened the spiralizer box and it looked like something that an assassin would have. I took a big breath and read the directions.

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Here’s how I created my electric-powered zoodles, in order to make turkey zoodle burgers.

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Turkey Zoodle Burgers

1 pound lean ground turkey
2 eggs
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped orange bell pepper
Garlic pepper
Salt
Bread crumbs, about 1/2 cup
Zoodles, made from 1 medium zucchini
Olive oil

Place the turkey, eggs, onion, bell pepper, and seasonings in a medium bowl. Stir until combined.

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Stir in the bread crumbs. Use enough to stiffen the burger mixture but not so much as to dry it up.

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Chill the burger mixture in the refrigerator and proceed with the zoodles.

To make the raw zoodles for these burgers I used the extra-fine spiralizer blade. The spiralizer plus the two other parts were easy to put together. Relief!

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Simply turn on the mixer and watch the noodles form!

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I placed the zoodles on paper towels to release some of their water for about 45 minutes.

When you’re ready to make the burgers, remove the burger mixture from the refrigerator.

Place the zoodles on a jelly-roll pan drizzled with olive oil.

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Using some of the oil on your hands, form four even-sized burgers. Then press them gently into the zoodles on both sides.

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Pour some olive oil in a flat skillet over high heat. Add the burgers and cook them for about 4-5 minutes.

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Turn them over gently and reduce the heat to medium. Continue to lower the heat as you cook the burgers through, without having to flip them over any more. Total time varies on the burger thickness; you can always use a meat thermometer to check the doneness.

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I served these burgers with a mayonnaise mixed with some paprika creme. It was a wonderful combination.

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You could also make a Sriracha mayonnaise, or use Dijonnaise as a condiment.

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I wasn’t tempted in the least to wrap burger buns around these burgers. They are just too tender, delicious, and pretty as is!

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So, first off, I learned that with half a brain one can easily use the spiralizer attachment on a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. And now I’m intrigued and excited about other attachments….

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The burgers came out great, by the way.

Burgers

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My husband cooks one thing – burgers. And I happily let him because they’re that good. In fact, people come from miles away to eat his burgers.

I didn’t grow up eating burgers and I’ve never cooked them myself. Even though I was born and raised in the U.S., I don’t crave hamburgers and fries like most. But when it comes to my husband’s burgers, I’m first in line.

We planned to have them on Memorial Day recently. Then I got the brilliant idea to document what he does in order to share his recipe. He said he didn’t mind if I followed him around with my camera, but that “there’s really no recipe.” But there is.

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Here’s what he does.

Before the burger-making process begins, he adds hot water to a 32-ounce cup filled with hickory chips.

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The ground beef he uses is grass fed, 80% lean, 20% fat.

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He makes the burgers all 8 ounces each, and 1″ thick.

The patties are formed by gently pressing the meat into shape. He presses a “well” on the tops of the patties.

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A generous amount of Worcestershire sauce and coarsely ground pepper are added. Let them sit at room temperature until it’s time to begin grilling.

Then he starts the fire. He will only use charcoal for grilling, and he’s patient with the fire. Neither of us like “charred” or “flame-kissed” burgers.

Only after all of the charcoal is grey, after about 45 minutes, he spreads out the coals and sprinkles on the soaked hickory.

The patties are placed on the grill carefully and cooked for 7 1/2 minutes on that side.

The lid is propped open so that the fire doesn’t get too hot, yet the hickory smoke stays inside the grill.

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After the burgers are turned over, more Worcestershire sauce and pepper are added.

After another 7 1/2 minutes, the burgers are ready to eat.

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I like mine with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, ketchup and yellow mustard, but they would be fantastic any which way!

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So, I don’t really know what makes these burgers so delicious. I think the hickory smoke is part of it, the Worcestershire sauce and pepper are part of it, using real charcoal, plus cooking only to medium-rare is also part of what makes these so good.

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Indian-Inspired Sliders

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I remember the conversation like it was yesterday.

husband: You’ve just got to try these!
me: What are they?
husband: She calls them Bombay sliders. They’re Indian!
me: After a bite… You do realize there’s mayonnaise in them, right?

My husband hates mayonnaise. Or, I should say, he thinks he hates mayonnaise. He was raised on Miracle Whip, which I find extremely inferior in flavor to real, good mayonnaise. But he thinks all mayonnaise tastes like Miracle Whip.

So for years, I’ve been banned from using this substance. When I started cooking for him he also informed me that he hates cream cheese. Which is funny, because he eats cheesecake.

Anyway, the above conversation took place years ago at a food and wine event in Park City, Utah. My husband had come across a woman at a booth handing out these Bombay sliders, and just knowing that they were Indian, he accepted one and ate it. And went back for another, completely ignoring the white creamy sauce inside the slider.

These little Indian-inspired turkey sliders really were fabulous, so I went to the woman’s booth and asked her about them. She told me she found the recipe on Epicurious.com, and that I could, too. At this moment I don’t remember if the woman was a representative of a turkey company, or something else. But I did go home and look up the recipe. And there was the mayonnaise.

We’re not a huge sandwich family, but occasionally, just for fun, I will make these sliders. First of all, sliders are just cute and fun. And, these days, you can actually purchase slider buns at the grocery store. But most of all, if you love all flavors Indian, you’ll also truly enjoy these little sandwiches.

I’ve altered the recipe slightly, but you can find the original here.

Indian-Inspired Sliders

sauce:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons good curry powder, I use this one

sliders:
1 pound ground pork
1 pound 2 ounces ground turkey*
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup mayonnaise
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 piece, 1″ square, of ginger, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon salt

Slider buns

For the sauce:
Firstly, mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce; set aside. If you’re wary of curry powder, start with 1 teaspoon and taste first.

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For the sliders:
Place the pork and turkey in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients.
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Mix everything together using your hands, but don’t overmix.
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Make uniform-sized burgers with the pork-turkey mixture to fit into the slider buns.
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Heat a griddle over high heat. Add a little olive oil. Cook the burgers on the first side for about 3-4 minutes. They should be nicely browned.

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Then turn them over, reduce the heat slightly, and continue cooking them for about 5-6 minutes. These times will vary, of course, depending how thick your burgers are.

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Place the burgers on a serving platter, and continue with the remaining meat.

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To serve, place the warm burgers on a room temperature bun, and top with the sauce.

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I always serve extra sauce as well, before the combination is just so good.

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* You can use 100% ground turkey in this recipe, or even use lamb instead.

note: Unless you’re against doing this for safety reasons, I always make sure the burgers are a little pink in the middle. That way they’re nice and moist.

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Enjoy!