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cliff wharton
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September 2003 WASHINGTON, D.C.
Pan Seared Ahi Tuna Burger with Wasabi Aioli, Pickled Ginger, and Asian Slaw
Chef de Cuisine Cliff Wharton of TenPenh Restaurant — Washington, D.C.
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: 8 servings


    For Sesame Aioli
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 3 ounces soy sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons Sriracha (chili paste)
  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • Blended olive oil (25% canola oil, 75% olive oil) as needed

  • For Asian Slaw (Chef’s Tip: Make Asian Slaw a day in advance)
  • ½ head green cabbage, julienned
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • ¼ bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 cup sesame aioli

  • For Wasabi Aioli
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup wasabi powder
  • Blended olive oil (25% canola oil, 75% olive oil) as needed

  • For Teriyaki Glaze
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoon palm sugar
  • 2 ounces tamarind paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 ounces mushroom soy sauce
  • 6 ounces black Asian vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Nam Prik Pao (chili paste)
  • Cornstarch as needed

  • For Tuna Burgers
  • 3 pounds ground Ahi tuna
  • ½ bunch green onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • ½ cups low sodium soy sauce
  • 1½ Tablespoons salt
  • Blended olive oil (25% canola oil, 75% olive oil) as needed
  • 1 bunch Kaiware sprouts (aka daikon radish sprouts, available in asian markets)
  • Pickled ginger (available in most supermarkets)
  • Burger bun of choice


Prepare the Sesame Aioli:
In a blender, combine all ingredients, except oils. Blend ingredients on medium-low speed. Slowly add sesame oil and allow to combine thoroughly. Then slowly add olive oil until mixture reaches desired consistency. Adjust sweetness with honey, to taste. Adjust spiciness with Sriracha, to taste. Set aside aioli.

Prepare the Asian Slaw:
In a mixing bowl, combine cabbage, carrot, cilantro, and sesame seeds. Add aioli and toss well to coat. Place Asian slaw in refrigerator overnight or until ready to use.

Prepare the Wasabi Aioli:
In a blender, combine all ingredients except oil. Blend all ingredients on medium-low speed. Slowly add oil until mixture reaches desired consistency. Set aside wasabi aioli.

Prepare the Teriyaki Glaze:
Steep tamarind paste in water for 15 minutes, then strain, reserving water only. In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients, including tamarind water, except cornstarch. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat. Combine cornstarch with a small amount of warm water to make a slurry. Stirring constantly, slowly add cornstarch slurry to saucepan. Continue to stir until mixture reaches desired thickness. Cook mixture on low simmer for about 15 minutes. Cool and set aside teriyaki glaze.

Prepare the Tuna Burgers:
In a mixing bowl, combine tuna, green onion, sesame seeds, and soy sauce. Mix well and then form into 6 ounce patties. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add a little blended olive oil (25% canola oil, 75% olive oil). Brush burgers with teriyaki glaze on both sides. Place burgers in pan and sear burgers on each side. For rare or medium rare burgers, finish in pan. For more well-done burgers, place on sheet pan and cook in a 400-degree oven until burgers reach desired doneness.

To serve:
For cookout-style approach, lay out bowls filled with wasabi aioli, pickled ginger, Kaiware sprouts, and toasted buns. Fill a salad bowl with Asian slaw. Place tuna burgers on a platter and let guests assemble burgers with desired toppings.

Wine Pairing:
Viognier, Cline, Sonoma, 2001

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