| (CLICK TO BUY)
For the Cucumber Salad
2 Kirby (pickling) cucumbers, thinly sliced
1/4 medium-size red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 scant teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
For the Burgers
1 1/2 pounds super-fresh red tuna
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sugar
4 fresh basil leaves, thinly slivered
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 Thai chile or Serrano pepper, seeded and minced (for hotter burgers leave the seeds in)
2 tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce, or more to taste
4 hamburger buns
2 tablespoons Asian (dark) sesame oil
Chile Peanut Tartar Sauce (recipe follows)
Chile Peanut Tartar Sauce
1 cup mayonnaise (preferably Hellmann's)
1 to 2 Thai chiles or Serrano peppers, seeded and minced (for a hotter sauce, leave the seeds in)
2 tablespoons finely chopped dry-roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
|1.||Make the cucumber salad:
Place the cucumbers, onion, sugar, salt, and vinegar in a nonreactive bowl and toss to mix.
Season the salad with pepper to taste. Let the salad stand for 1 hour at room temperature, tossing it again once
or twice. |
|2.||Make the burgers: Trim any skin or dark or bloody
spots off the tuna. Rinse the tuna under cold running water, then blot it dry with paper towels.
Finely chop the tuna by hand (you'll get the best consistency this way) or in a food processor.
If using a food processor, cut the tuna into 1/2-inch chunks, don't fill the processor bowl more than
a quarter full, and run the machine in short bursts.|
|3.||Place the garlic, ginger, and sugar in a mixing bowl and mash to a
paste with the back of a spoon. Add the chopped tuna, and the basil, cilantro, Thai chile, and fish sauce and
stir with a wooden spoon just to mix. Taste for seasoning, adding more fish sauce as necessary (it's OK to taste
high-quality tuna raw). Divide tuna mixture into 4 even portions and shape into patties. Place the patties on
a plate lined with plastic wrap and refrigerate, covered, until ready to grill.|
|4.||Grill the tuna burgers, following the instructions for any of the grills
listed below, until cooked to medium-rare. When done, the burgers will be cooked at the edges but still pink in the
center when tested with a knife (unlike hamburgers, it's safe to serve tuna burgers medium-rare). Remove the burgers
and cover to keep warm. Leave the grill on.|
|5.||To serve: Brush the cut sides of the buns with the sesame oil. Place the
buns on the hot grill, cut side down, and, lowering the temperature if necessary, grill until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes.
You may need to work in batches.|
|6.||Spoon some Chile Peanut Tartar Sauce onto the bottom of each bun. Place a
tuna burger on top. Using a slotted spoon, spoon some cucumber salad onto each burger, then top with the other half
of the bun and serve at once.|
Tips: Use sushi-quality tuna, so you can serve the burgers medium rare.
|Fish sauce is a malodorous but tasty condiment made from fermented anchovies. It is
available at Asian markets, gourmet shops, and a growing number of supermarkets. The best brands come in glass bottles.
If fish sauce is unavailable or off-putting, you can substitute soy sauce.|
Chile Peanut Tartar Sauce (Makes about 1 Cup)
East meets West in this explosively flavorful tartar sauce, which goes great with any sort of grilled seafood. A good
tool for grating ginger is a Microplane—a grater that looks like a file with razor-sharp slits. It's also useful
for grating lemon zest, the oil-rich yellow rind of the lemon.
|Place mayonnaise, chile(s), peanuts, cilantro, ginger, lemon zest, lemon juice, and fish
sauce in a nonreactive mixing bowl and whisk to mix. Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon juice and/or fish sauce as
necessary and pepper to taste. Any leftover sauce will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.|
If You Have A...
|Contact Grill: Preheat the grill; if your contact grill has a temperature
control, preheat the grill to high. Place the drip pan under the front of the grill. When ready to cook, lightly oil
the grill surface. Place the burgers on the hot grill, then gently close the lid. The burgers will be done after cooking
3 minutes. |
|Grill Pan: Place the grill pan on the stove and preheat it to medium-high over
medium heat. When the grill pan is hot a drop of water will skitter in the pan. When ready to cook, lightly oil the
ridges of the grill pan. Place the burgers in the hot grill pan. They will be done after cooking 3 minutes per side.
|Built-in Grill: Preheat the grill to high, then, if it does not have a nonstick
surface, brush and oil the grill grate. Place the burgers on the hot grate. They will be done after cooking 3 minutes
|Freestanding Grill: Preheat the grill to high; there's no need to oil the grate.
Place the burgers on the hot grill. They will be done after cooking 4 minutes per side.|
|Fireplace Grill: Rake red hot embers under the gridiron and preheat it for 3 to
5 minutes; you want a hot, 2 to 3 Mississippi fire. When ready to cook, brush and oil the gridiron. Place the burgers
on the hot grate. They will be done after cooking 3 minutes per side.|