Tuna Burgers Makes 4 Burgers
Sushi-grade Tuna makes these burgers a bit of an extravagance, but I love offering this burger to friends. It's full of fresh garden flavors and gets an added kick from the tamari. The onion sugar is a favorite of mine from The Spice and Tea Exchange (www.SpiceandTea.com). You can use sugar in the raw instead, but I encourage you to check out their full range of infused sugars. They punch up the flavor and a little goes a long way. To finish the burgers, top them off with caramelized onions and a quick easy yogurt topping flavored with spices and herbs (recipes follow), which is a lot nicer than plain old tartar sauce. While I have included instructions for grilling the burger, I'll warn you in advance: there is little to bind this burger together, so you must be very deft with a spatula and use a very hot grill.
Ingredients 1 ? pounds sushi-grade tuna steaks 1 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated, to yield about 3 teaspoons 2 shallots, finely minced 1 garlic clove, finely minced 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro 1 small jalape? o chile, seeded and minced Pinch of onion sugar (substitute raw sugar) Pinch of sea salt Freshly ground black pepper 1 ? teaspoons organic tamari sauce 1 teaspoons sesame oil (can substitute chili oil), plus extra for brushing the burgers Gluten-free rolls 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
Preparation With a sharp knife, finely chop the tuna and place in a medium-size non-reactive bowl. Add the ginger, shallot, garlic, cilantro, jalape?o, onion sugar, tamari, and 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil. Add salt and pepper to season. Gently combine the ingredients into the tuna with a spatula, mixing well to incorporate all the ingredients.
Moisten hands with cold water and shape the tuna into 4 equal patties. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and freeze for 10 minutes to firm up the flesh and bind the burger together. Before cooking, brush the patties with a little sesame oil.
Pan-sear the burgers. Heat a large, heavy-skillet over high heat until very hot. Add the burgers and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until deep brown on the outside but still rare on the inside. Optional: to grill your burgers: Place on a grill preheated to high and cook for 1 ? to 2 minutes on each side.
Service Place the fresh cooked burgers on a gluten-free roll and sprinkle with the sesame seeds, if using. Add caramelized onions or yogurt sauce, or both!
Caramelized Onions Makes about 2 cups; Serves 4
Ingredients 1 ? pounds Vidalia or other sweet onions, peeled and sliced about1/8-inch thick (to yield about 6 cups) 2 tablespoons butter Coarse (kosher) salt Onion sugar (substitute sugar in the raw) Freshly ground black pepper
Preparation In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions, season with salt and toss to coat. Cover and cook until the onions begin to release their liquid, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes more. Sprinkle the onions with about 1 teaspoon of the sugar and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until they are golden brown and caramelized, about 10 minutes longer. Taste. Adjust seasoning. Serve warm.
Yogurt Sauce with Basil Makes 1 cup
Ingredients 1 cup Greek-style yogurt 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 1 teaspoon cardamom 8 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped 1/2 small jalape?o, seeded and minced 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest Pinch of sugar, to balance flavors Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to season
Preparation In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, spices, basil, jalape?o, lime zest, and sugar. Taste. Add salt and pepper, to season. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving to let the flavors meld.
Make ahead. You can make this up to 4 hours ahead of service. It actually keeps for 2 days in the refrigerator when covered, but the flavors start to fade. If you can, make it the day you intend to use it.
Rice-Udon Noodle Salad with Cardamom and Sesame Seed Dressing Serves 6
This is the easiest salad to make and great to bring to a summer picnic.
Ingredients 1 package of gluten-free, rice udon noodles ? cup organic tamari ? cup extra virgin olive oil ? cup sesame seeds 1 teaspoon cardamom 3 tablespoons sundried tomatoes, julienned (add more to taste) 2 tablespoons scallions 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1/4 cup organic feta cheese, crumbled (add more to taste)
Preparation Cook the udon noodles as directed and then rinse well under cold water. Sprinkle tamari on pasta; mix well using your hands so the tamari is well distributed over all the udon. Add more if desired.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cardamom and sesame seed dressing. Place the olive oil in a small skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and toast until just brown. Add the cardamom, remove from the heat, and stir to combine. Set aside until ready to use.
To finish the dish, pour the cardamom sesame mixture over pasta. Toss with hands to evenly distribute. Add the sun-dried tomatoes pieces, red pepper flakes, and scallions. Toss to combine and top with the feta cheese. Cover loosely and set aside at room temperature for about 1/2-hour for the flavors to marry and be absorbed by the noodles. Serve at room temperature.
Note: Noodle salad can be prepared in advance. Cover and chill in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Recipe Copyright ? 2010 by The Healthy Living Kitchen. All Rights Reserved. To learn more about The Healthy Living Kitchen and classes with Michelle Wohlfarth, go to www.HealthyLivingKitchenPA.com.
Wild Rice Salad with Fruit and Honey-Chipotle Dressing Serves 6
Whole grains are a great alternative to pasta. Wild Rice, Quinoa, and others all make delicious summer salads. Use the fruits you have on hand, and toss with this tangy, slighty-smoky dressing and you'll have the makings of a delicious side or snack.
Ingredients For the salad 2 cups chopped summer fruit (mangoes, peaches, cherries, pineapple, apples, etc.) 3 cups prepared Wild Rice 2/3 cup fine chopped celery 1 medium red pepper, fine chopped (to yield about 2/3 cup) 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped to release aromatics 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to season
For the dressing 1/2 cup sherry wine vinegar 1/4 cup honey 3 star anise (optional) 1 tablespoon finely chopped chipotle chile with adobo sauce (about 1 large chile) 1 teaspoon cocoa chile powder (or substitute any chile powder) 1 cup organic almond oil Sea salt, fresh ground pepper to season
Preparation In a large mixing bowl combine the prepared wild rice, the fruit, the celery, the red pepper, and the herbs. Mix gently to combine.
Make the dressing: In a small, heavy sauce pan placed over medium low heat, combine the vinegar and the honey. Add the star anise and bring to a boil. Once boiling, immediately remove from the heat and set aside to cool about 20 to 30 minutes, which allows the star anise flavor to subtly steep into the mixture. Strain the mixture into a small food processor or a blend; discard the star anise. Note: if you choose not to use the star anise infusion, simply pour the vinegar and honey into the work bowl of a small food processor and proceed. Add the chile and the chile powder. With the processor running, slowly add the oil to create an emulsified dressing. Check flavor at 1/2 and 3/4 cups of oil. Depending on your flavor preference, you may choose to use less than the full amount of oil.
Add about 1/3 of the dressing to the wild rice salad and toss to moisten. Take care to lightly dress the salad. Pass the extra dressing at the table.
Enjoy a Delicious Gluten-Free Picnic this Summer
Recipes by Chef Donna Desfor
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
Los Angeles Times welcomes civil dialogue about our stories; you must register with the site to participate. We filter comments for language and adherence to our Terms of Service, but not for factual accuracy. By commenting, you agree to these legal terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.
Having technical problems? Check here for guidance.