When I was in college, a friend of mine suggested we make tuna burgers for dinner. I’m a little abashed to say that I actually laughed out loud at the suggestion. Whoa, what? That sounded–well, I don’t know–I guess it just sounded like something I didn’t want to have for dinner. But I am here to tell you, many many tuna burgers later, that this is my total burger thing when I’m not yet ready to pull out my grill and flame-up an actual beef burger. By Memorial Day, I will want that. But right now is the right time for a surprisingly tasty alternative.
I have worked long and hard to tweak my recipe into making a perfect Patty for One. It just requires that you find the smaller, 3-ounce cans of tuna at the grocery store. They are usually sold in a 3-pack, like so:
If you absolutely can’t find the smaller cans, use a 5-ounce can, and remove just over a quarter of the tuna. As with the best crab cakes, less filler = better burger. So you may have to hold your hand around the bun as you eat, but the taste is clean and delicious.
Here are a couple of other notes on ingredients:
I like to use these breadcrumbs. If yours are not “Italian style,” just add 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning to the recipe.
At my local grocery store, they sell tiny fresh pearl onions. I love these (because they are adorable) and because they are the perfect onion-y package for small recipes. Slice off both ends, peel off the outer skin, and cut the leftover onion into tiny dices. If you can’t find small ones, just chop up a regular onion, use 1-2 tablespoons of it, then portion and freeze the rest in little baggies as described in this post.
To make the burger: In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir well to evenly combine everything–especially make sure the butter is evenly mixed in. Then, using your hands, shape the mix into a patty: round, and about one inch high.
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat until you can feel the heat when you hold your hand about three inches above the pan. Spray the pan with vegetable oil cooking spray, then add the tuna patty. Cook until nicely browned, about 4-5 minutes, on that side. Then flip the patty and cook the second side until browned to your liking.
Serve hot on a toasted bun with mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, and/or any toppings of your choice. Chips on the side, and maybe a pickle, round out the meal.
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