Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Simply Delicious Chopped Ahi Burgers

Asheville, NC is one of my favorite places on Earth.  Tucked away in the mountains, it's a haven for foodies and artists alike.  When my husband and I need to get away from reality for a bit, it's easy to jump in the car, drive an hour over the mountains, and spend the day sipping wine, eating good food, and wandering the countless galleries and stores downtown.

Also, it reminds me of home.  Like really reminds me of home.

It feels very much like downtown San Luis Obispo, CA to me- and I've heard the "it feels like home" comment from other West-coast transplants...

It feels like Portland.
It feels like San Francisco.
It feels like Seattle.

It just has that vibe.  To be honest, my adopted home- though beautiful- is way different than what I will always consider to be my real home, and it's nice to have such familiarity within driving distance.

That and food.  I kind of love food.
I have a laundry list of much-loved Asheville restaurants I've worked through, as well as an ever-growing wish list of places to try on future visits.  One of my favorites is Sunny Point Cafe in West Asheville.
On our last visit, I had an Asian Sushi Tuna Burger.  My goodness...small diced sushi-grade tuna, lemongrass, wasabi aioli- and delicious, peppery, edible flowers on my side salad.  I thought I was in heaven.

Well, until I tried my husband's Huevos Rancheros.  Dude.  Just dude.  Oh my goodness...black bean cakes, chorizo, cilantro crema, tomatillo salsa...it is quite possibly the best thing I've ever tasted.  Well, ok, maybe not the best, but definitely in the top 5.

Anyway, I say all of that to say this- last night's dinner inadvertently reminded me of the awesomeness that is Asheville.

Though I do most of our shopping at our local grocery store, I live a good 20+ minutes from the closest store I consider to have really good seafood.  Thankfully, our local store has started carrying a brand of individually-packaged frozen fish.  It's extremely reasonably priced and I've been picking up several varieties every time I shop.  Last night, this left me staring at several packages of ahi tuna that needed to be used.

I found a recipe for ahi burgers that I decided to try, but it wasn't until I took a bite that I remembered that wonderful burger I'd had at Sunny Point Cafe.  Though the Asheville version was definitely better (I mean that lightly seared sushi grade tuna alone....drool...), these were really good.
It means a lot that my husband loved them, given the fact that he considers most dishes like this to be "frou frou" food.
We are not cut from the same culinary cloth lol...

Anyway, these were super easy to make and yummy too.  I served them with sautéed broccoli slaw and Light and Creamy Toasted Sesame Asian Dressing from Jamie Cooks It Up- though next time I think I'm going to take my cue from Sunny Point's version and make up some wasabi aioli.

Definitely a keeper!

1 pound fresh tuna steaks, diced small
1 carrot, grated
3/4 C chopped green onion
2 eggs
1/3 cup panko crumbs or breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 tsp chili garlic sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. In a large bowl, mix together tuna, carrot, green onion, eggs, panko crumbs, chili garlic sauce, and mayonnaise. Season with garlic salt and black pepper. Form into patties.

2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Arrange patties in the pan (only as many as will fit easily in the pan). Cook, uncovered, 10 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

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