This recipe was originally featured in The 30 Second Wine Advisor's FoodLetter on Thursday, April 21, 2005.

The Gourmet Burger

INGREDIENTS: (serves 2)

1-2 large cloves garlic
1/2-inch chunk fresh ginger
Dried red-pepper flakes
2 tablespoons peanut oil
8 ounces (240g) fresh tuna
6 ounces large sea scallops
1/2 lime
1 teaspoon (5ml) Thai sweet chile sauce
1 teaspoon wasabi powder
1 tablespoon (15g) chopped fresh cilantro
Black pepper


1. Peel the garlic and ginger and mince them fine. You should have enough to make a good heaping tablespoon of each. Heat 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil in a small skillet over medium heat, and cook the garlic and ginger with dried red-pepper flakes to taste, until the vegetables are translucent and aromatic; take them off heat before they start to brown. Set aside to cool.

2. Cut the tuna and the scallops into 1/4-inch (6 mm) dice. Squeeze the lime, chop the cilantro, and measure out the other ingredients.

3. Put the diced tuna and scallops in a bowl and mix in the garlic and ginger and their oil, the lime juice, cilantro, chile sauce, wasabi powder and cilantro. Let it stand for 10 minutes or so for the flavors to blend, then put it in a strainer to drain off any excess liquid. Divide this mixture into four equal parts and form patties, squeezing them to force out additional liquid.

4. Put the remaining tablespoon of peanut oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When it sizzles, put in the patties, taking care that they don't fall apart. Cook for about two minutes without touching or moving them, then gently turn them once, using a large, thin spatula. Cook on the other side for 2 more minutes, taking care not to overcook. Assuming quality, fresh tuna and scallops, there's no harm in having a bit of semi-sushi in the middle of the burgers. Serve immediately while they're hot.

RANDOM NOTES: You'll notice that there's no binder in these burgers, and it takes a lot of care to keep the patties intact. It doesn't really matter much, as the few bits that fall off still make delectable crunchy bits. For more of a burger form, though, next time I might either try for smaller dice or use the food processor and try a coarse tuna-and-scallop blend in place of the dice; or possibly add 1 egg white to the mix to hold things together.

The cookbook suggested serving this on a square of foccacia bread with a slice of tomato and a dab of Greek-style napa cabbage and yogurt tzatziki sauce (for which it provided a simple recipe) on top. I didn't do that, choosing instead to serve them au naturel with steamed rice and a salad.

The combination of fresh fish and seafood and piquant but not fiery Asian spice calls for a rich, off-dry white, a Riesling, Gewurztraminer or Chenin Blanc. I chose the latter, and it made a fine match with the complex if fat'n'fruity Champalou 2003 Vouvray featured in yesterday's 30 Second Wine Advisor.

To read more about Paul Gayler's The Gourmet Burger on, and, if you wish, to order it online, click currently offers it for $16.47 (plus shipping), a 34 percent discount from its $24.95 list price. Orders made using this direct link will return a small commission to

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