Sesame-Crusted Tuna Burgers with Sweet Napa Slaw and Wasabi-Ginger Mayo

Accolades 2005 Finalists
Serves Makes 6 burgers
Pairs well with:

Pinot Grigio

You won’t need a bouquet of flowers when you share our Pinot Grigio. This crisp wine with floral aromas is a wonderful way to make an entrance.


Napa Cabbage Slaw:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 (3 ounce) package ramen noodles, crushed (discard the seasoning packet)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 small Chinese (napa) cabbage head
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
Dash salt
Dash freshly ground black pepper

Wasabi-Ginger Mayonnaise:

3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons prepared wasabi
2 teaspoons chopped pickled ginger
Dash white pepper

Tuna Patties:

2 1/2 pounds fresh sushi-grade ahi tuna, ground in a food processor
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons mirin
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon chopped jalapeno chile
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 cup mixed black and white sesame seeds

Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill rack and rolls
6 Hawaiian-style sweet sandwich rolls, split



Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium high.

To make the slaw, melt the butter in a fireproof skillet on the grill. Add the noodles, sesame seeds, and almonds and saute until browned. Slice the cabbage thinly and place in a large bowl. Add the browned noodle mixture and mix well.

Combine the oil, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until well incorporated. Pour the dressing over the cabbage and set aside.

To make the wasabi-ginger mayonnaise, combine the mayonnaise, wasabi, pickled ginger, and pepper in a bowl and stir to mix well. Cover and refrigerate.

To make the patties, put the ground tuna into a large bowl. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, mirin, vinegar, sugar, jalapeno, and chives. Mix the ingredients very well, making sure that everything is well incorporated. Form the mixture into 6 equal patties to fit the rolls. Place the sesame seeds on a flat plate. Coat each patty in the seeds.

Brush the grill rack with oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes. Flip the patties over and cook on the other side for 4 to 5 minutes. The tuna should be opaque in color.

During the last few minutes of cooking, brush the cut surfaces of the rolls with a very small amount of oil and toast lightly on the grill rack.

To assemble the burgers, spread each roll bottom with 1 tablespoon of the mayo. Place a tuna patty on each roll bottom and top with a portion of the slaw. Add the roll tops.