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Mini Tuna Burgers with Mint-Caper Aïoli on Pita Triangles

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Serves six to eight.

Yields about 18.

  • by Allison Ehri Kreitler from Fine Cooking
    Issue 86

You can make the aïoli with a pasteurized egg if raw eggs are an issue.

  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 2 Tbs. capers, rinsed
  • 1 large clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt; more as needed
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper; more as needed
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil; more for brushing
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint, plus 18 large leaves for garnish
  • 1 lb. tuna steak, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 regular pitas, each cut into 6 triangles
Tip:
The burgers can be shaped up to 2 hours ahead and refrigerated.

Put the egg yolk, capers, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a food processor and purée until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle the oil through the feed tube to form an emulsion. Stop the motor, add the 2 Tbs. chopped mint, and pulse to combine. Spoon 1/4 cup of the aïoli into a small bowl.

Add the tuna and egg white to the food processor bowl and pulse until just chopped. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment. Drop 18 rounds of the tuna mixture by heaping tablespoons onto the baking sheet. Use your hands to shape the mounds into mini burgers about 1/3 inch thick.

Heat a gas grill to high or prepare a hot charcoal fire.

Brush one side of the tuna burgers with oil and season with salt and pepper. Gently flip the burgers and oil and season the other side. Put the pita triangles on another baking sheet, brush both sides with oil and sprinkle both sides with a little salt and pepper. Grill the pitas on both sides until lightly browned and a little crisp but still pliable, 1 to 2 minutes total. Transfer to a serving platter.

Grill the burgers (covered on a gas grill, uncovered on a charcoal grill) on one side until they have nice grill marks, about 2 minutes. Flip the burgers, loosening them with a  metal spatula if necessary, and grill the other side until marked and just cooked through, about 2 minutes more.

While the burgers are cooking, spread a little of the reserved aïoli inside each pita. As the burgers come off the grill, tuck one into each pita along with a mint leaf and serve immediately.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on eight servings; Calories (kcal): 280; Fat (g): 18; Fat Calories (kcal): 160; Saturated Fat (g): 3; Protein (g): 16; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11; Carbohydrates (g): 14; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Sodium (mg): 260; Cholesterol (mg): 50; Fiber (g): 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Mine too were a little dry after cooking 2 minutes on one side and 1 minute on the other. That can easily be remedied next time. Eight women raved about these. Will definitely make again and soon.

I did not use pita triangles when I made these, so this review is based solely on the tuna "burgers" and aioli. We really enjoyed them, although I will know to cook the tuna less next time as it was a bit on the dry side. However the mint-caper aioli was absolutely delicious! I will make these again, maybe barely searing pieces of tuna steaks so the inside is still raw (and moist).

These were very dry.

I made these as full size burgers and served on greens with gazpacho on the side. I will definitely make as an appetizer, as written, but it sounded so good I just had to make it. Glad I did, great summer meal! I got four burgers out of it.

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