I'm not sure about in other places but here in Atlanta, the burger craze is in full effect. They have reached cult status here in our town with the opening of Flip, the burger "boutique" concept of Richard Blais - yes, of Top Chef fame.
The wide variety of burgers there at Flip - from the lamb burger to the Vietnamese "bun mi" burger - really inspired me. My favorite that I've had there was the steak tartare - a really delicious twist on a classic. It got my mind working on a version that incorporated one of my favorite things on earth: tuna tartare. With a slab of really fresh tuna, some wasabi and a couple other simple (and high quality ingredients) - this came together brilliantly. The play of the toasted bun with the tooth of the raw tuna and the crunch of the frisee was pretty sublime. It was also a lot of fun to let your mind wander and come up with your own answer to the question - what defines a burger?
The full story is available here at Atlanta Cuisine in page 16 of the January issue.
Tuna Tartare Burger - serves 2 large burgers or 4 smaller "slider" sized burgers
- 1 pound fresh ahi tuna
- 1 small handful chives - minced
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 large high quality hamburger buns - brioche would be a nice touch here!
- 3 tbsp. creme fraiche
- 1 tsp. prepared wasabi
- 1 large handful of frisee or other greens
For the wasabi creme fraiche: Bring creme fraiche up to slightly below room temp. Mix with wasabi paste and set aside.
For the tuna tartare: Using a very sharp knife, dice tuna in small 1/4 - 1/2 inch dice. Place tuna in a bowl set inside an iced bowl to keep the tuna cold during assembly. To the tuna, add the liquid ingredients and stir carefully not to break up the fish. Throw in minced chives and gently stir again. Salt and pepper the tartare to taste. If not serving immediately, keep the tartare on the iced bowl to keep it cold.
Assembly: Lightly toast hamburger buns or cut-out rounds of brioche. Spread a scant smear of wasabi creme fraiche on the bottom of the bun. Top with the tartare in whatever ratio you want and will accommodate the number of burgers you're making. Top with a small handful of frisee or other greens. I like serving the burger open face with the bun on the side and let your diners decide their best plan of attack.