We were skiing with my sister and her family in this townand for a last-minute dinner she pulled out homemade tuna burgers from the freezer. Maybe my expectations were low, maybe my appetite was high, maybe it was the altitude, but I devoured this previously-frozen protein that she cooked up in a flash. Talk about dinner options at your fingertips. When I returned home, it was all I could do to hunt down the recipe andfreezing supplies to have the same luxurious meal available in my kitchen. Not can share with youanother genius ideafrom my sister(and her friend John with the help of their friend Gwyneth, the goop, Paltrow): gourmet burgers prepared in batches and vac-sealed for later. If you’re thinking, what? burgers made from tuna, think again because these babies mix up with ginger, garlic and a few spices for fragrant burst of Pan Asian flavors that I promise the kids will love. Fresh tuna may seem decadent, but even at the highest grade, tuna comes in at a few bucks a piece because you’re mixing in other ingredients and adding some succulent carmelized shallots and a to-die-for sauce on top. GP serves her burgers with a crusty whole wheat bun (does she really look like a girl who’s eating buns?), making the meal even more filling. But to us sisters, a bun is not as calorie-worthy as say a margarita, so our approach is sans bun. I added my favorite charred broccoli– the low cal vegetable that makes me swoon.
A word about vacuum sealing. Have you purchased your vacuum sealer yet? I’ve been a devotee of this guy for awhile now and then upgraded recently to this more professional mechanism. Made in Germany assured me that it would be industrious and have more functions than necessary. Vacuum sealers not only guarantee food preservation, but in a moment of dinner desperation, you can thaw and cook vac-sealed meals in boiling water or in the microwave. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, then use a zip loc bag, extracting all air and seal. It won’t keep as long, but offer the same effect.
gingered tuna burgers, fresh from the freezer
Serves: 4 people for 2 meals (you’ll freeze half of the batch)
Preptime: 15 minutes, plus 1 hour chilling
Cooktime: 15 minutes
2 t wasabi powder
4 t Dijon mustard
2 t water
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1 t coarse salt
2 T peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
2 T peeled and finely chopped garlic
3 T groundnut oil (peanut) or canola, plus more for cooking
2 lbs highest-quality tuna, cut into 1″ pieces
4 T extra virgin olive oil
6 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
Soy & Sesame Mayonnaise:
1/2 c Vegenaise (substitute fat-free mayonnaise)
4 t soy sauce
4 t toasted sesame oil
- Combine wasabi, mustard and water in a small bowl.
- Scrape it into a food processor along with the pepper, salt, ginger, garlic and groundnut oil.
- Pulse it all together to make a flavourful paste.
- Add the tuna and pulse just to combine – be careful not to over-process the tuna as you want your burgers to have texture.
- Form the mixture into eight burgers and set four in the refrigerator for at least an hour (up to overnight) to let the flavours really settle in.
- Put the other four patties in the freezer on a flat surface. The idea is to freeze them in the patty shape and then vacuum seal or seal tightly in a ziploc freezer bag. If you vacuum seal unfrozen patties they will lose their shape.
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a frying pan. Add the shallots and sauté for about 10 minutes, until they get soft and sweet and a little brown. Reserve.
- Preheat your barbecue or griddle pan over high heat. Fry or grill for two or three minutes a side, until they are cooked to your preference.
- Whisk all the ingredients for the soy & sesame mayo together and dollop onto cooked burgers. Pile on the sautéed shallots.
- Save any mayo mixture for your second preparation of the burgers. This mayo also tastes great as a veggie dip or a topper for just about any protein.
- Use pre-chopped garlic and ginger.
- Thaw frozen burgers, while still in the freezer plastic, in a bowl of warm water.
- Freeze shallots and burgers together.
- Make an abundance of caramelized shallots. They will keep for two weeks.
- Freeze fully-cooked burgers. Thaw and microwave for dinner or take at room temp on the go.
recipe adapted from My Father’s Daughter cookbook by Gwynthe Paltrow and provided by your friends at crucnhtimefood.com.