Tuna burgers are a good choice for the budget-minded family. Obviously canned tuna is much less expensive than canned salmon. This version maintains that great seafood flavor by using a couple of secret ingredients: anchovy paste and Worcestershire sauce.
Now don’t turn up your nose at the anchovy paste! It’s not much, and you won’t taste it at all. It is such a small amount, but really makes a difference, I promise! You may not know that caesar salad dressing, remoulade sauce, green goddess dressing, Worcestershire sauce, and even orange juice all include anchovies as an ingredient.
I use either Safe Catch® or Wild Planet® brands of canned seafood because they are certified dolphin-safe, but store brands are fine, if you prefer. You may substitute white albacore tuna for the chunk light tuna, if you must. The burgers will not be as flavorful and will probably be drier in texture. Be forewarned.
Tuna burgers are also good cold, chopped up as a topper for a mixed greens salad.
Tuna Burgers Recipe
3 cans (5 ounces each) chunk light tuna, do not drain (see instructions)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup minced sweet onion
1/4 cup finely minced celery
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste, optional but recommended
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning (or equivalent seafood spice mix)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
1 cup seasoned fine bread crumbs (may substitute panko)
1 Tablespoon olive oil (more if needed)
Drain the liquid from each of the cans of tuna into a bowl. Measure out 1/3 cup of the liquid and discard the rest. Set the drained tuna aside for now.
Whisk together the 1/3 cup of tuna liquid from cans, mayonnaise, minced sweet onions, celery, eggs, anchovy paste, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, dill weed, Old Bay seasoning, kosher salt, and hot sauce.
Using a dinner fork, fold the tuna and bread crumbs into the liquid mixture until combined. Do not overmix. Cover and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes to allow the bread crumbs to absorb the liquid and firm up.
Form the tuna mixture into 6 patties. Set aside.
Place a heavy, hard-anodized or cast iron skillet over medium heat. When hot, coat the bottom of the pan with the olive oil. Saute the tuna patties until golden on the bottom. Flip and brown the other side. Do not rush this step or the patties will not be fully cooked in the center. Ideally, the patties should only be flipped once. If you press lightly on the centers with the back of the spatula, they should feel firm when done.
Serve on a bun as a sandwich with potato salad (as shown in the photo) or without the bun as an entree, accompanied with rice and vegetables. Tartar sauce optional.
Yield: 6 servings