Wednesday, August 3, 2016

TUNA BURGERS gluten, egg, and diary free

So, canned tuna. Honestly I'm not really a fan. I grew up in the day of forced tuna sandwiches, soggy from sitting in school lunch packs. Really, just ick.

But a little awhile ago I was meandering the aisles at Costco and came across canned tuna I could actually get on board with. BPA-free cans, proudly wild and sustainably caught. Tuna has raised some serious concerns about the health of our oceans. Fish are being recklessly over-caught, usually by mass fishing tactics that reek havoc on the ocean floor and life found within the waters. As the larger countries demand more fish, indigenous cultures dependent on this food source for survival are forced into more dangerous waters and the use of life-threatening techniques. Scarcity has become a familiar opponent.

Eating local meats and supporting companies working to heal the gaping wounds of our waters are the best ways to do our part. And eating foods like canned tuna in moderation rather than as a staple food if you find yourself landlocked rather than ocean-side can help replenish the rapidly dropping fish numbers.

If you do find yourself with a can of our sea friends and have yet to decide what to do with it, I'd like to offer this recipe. You may never eat tuna salad again.

Serves 4
Adapted from Paula Dean's Tuna Burger

2 [6-ounce] cans of wild, sustainably pole & line caught tuna, drained [can find this at Costco]
1/2 c. oats, ground [grind rolled oats using food processor, appropriate blender, or coffee grinder]
2 flax "eggs"*
1/2 c. celery, finely chopped
1/2 c. onion, finely chopped
1 T. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. prepared horseradish [look for the jars in the refrigerator section if possible]
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 T. unrefined coconut oil

*To make one flax "egg", combine one tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water. Mix and let sit for ten minutes or until the mixture thickens a bit.

For the dressing:

1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. raw honey
2 - 3 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. dried dill
pinch sea salt

Combine all burger ingredients, except oil, in a medium-size glass bowl using your clean hands. Take a portion of mixture, roughly 1/3 cup, and form into a well-packed ball. Carefully flatten into a burger shape, cinching and patting the edges where necessary and set on a plate. Repeat until all burger batter is formed into patties.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Carefully place burgers in pan and cover. Cook for 6 - 7 minutes or until bottom is a deep golden brown color. Flip, re-cover, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

If you're using a cast iron skillet, place entire skillet into preheated oven. If using stainless steel, remove burgers from pan, spread out on baking sheet, and place in oven. Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine dressing ingredients into a small jar and tightly secure lid. Shake vigorously for a couple minutes until well combined. Set aside.

Remove from oven and serve immediately. Burgers can be used like traditional beef burgers or laid on a bed of herbs [like parsley, cilantro, and/or dill] or fresh greens and topped with dressing.

These are great to freeze and dressing can be stored in refrigerator for up to a month.

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