There is nothing like a Fourth of July barbecue. Kids and adults love the patriotic fanfare as well as the smoky-sweet barbecue aroma in the air on this special day. I think I have made the gamut of dishes that somehow have come to signify Fourth of July. From southern pulled pork to ribs of every kind, I’ve kicked up the flavors and reimagined grilled sausages, burgers of every kind, steaks, and salads galore. When I want a simple menu I like to offer my standard juicy beef burgers and add one other burger to satisfy the non-meat eaters at my gathering.
This Ahi Burger with Ginger Sesame Mayonnaise is a true crowd-pleaser. Fresh tuna has become a staple at most supermarkets. Select tuna that is very fresh and doesn’t have a bloodline running through it. The tuna is finely chopped by pulsing it in the food processor with plenty of garlic and fresh basil. Once refrigerated and firm, they are grilled until medium. You can double or triple this recipe but do it in batches. Sometimes I add a slice or two of avocado on top of the lettuce. Make sure the burgers are not overcooked or they will be dry.
To round out your meal consider adding your favorite coleslaw or potato salad, grilled fresh corn on the cob and a fresh fruit platter for a colorful menu. You can also sauté the burgers in a large skillet over medium-high heat if weather isn’t cooperating for barbecuing. And another variation is to make these into sliders (about 3 inch min-burgers with mini-buns) and serve as an appetizer. I also love to serve this ginger sesame flavored mayonnaise as a dipping sauce for a vegetable platter (crudités) that includes carrots, pea pods, baby tomatoes and asparagus. Raise a glass of chilled Rose to celebrate our country’s independence and enjoy your day.
Ahi Burgers with Ginger Sesame Mayonnaise
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 3/4 pounds fresh, well-chilled tuna fillets, trimmed of any dark spots and cut into large chunks
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Ginger Sesame Mayonnaise
½ cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon finely chopped pickled ginger
Dash hot pepper sauce, such as Sriracha
4 brioche orother soft hamburger buns, sliced and toasted
4 medium crisp butter or romaine lettuce leaves
- In a food processor, mince the garlic. Add the tuna, olive oil, basil, anchovy paste and pepper and pulse until the mixture resembles the texture of ground meat. Divide the mixture into 4 balls and form them into 1-inch-thick patties. Place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- To prepare the mayonnaise: In a small bowl stir together the mayonnaise, sesame seeds, sesame oil, vinegar; and ginger; season with the hot pepper sauce. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Heat the grill to medium high heat with a perforated grill sheet on top that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Place the tuna patties on the grill and cook for about 2 minutes on each side for medium.
- To serve, spread a tablespoon of mayonnaise on the bottom half of the toasted buns. Place the lettuce leaves on top. Place the burgers on top and dollop a tablespoon of the mayonnaise on the burger. Cover with the bun tops. Serve immediately.
Advance Preparation: May be prepared through step 2 up to 6 hours ahead. Keep the burgers and mayonnaise covered and refrigerated.