In their new dietary guidelines released in January 2011, the USDA recommends we eat two four-ounce servings of seafood per week. Unfortunately, fresh fish isn't always accessible to some, and can be prohibitively expensive for others. That's where canned fish comes in. Universally available and comparatively inexpensive, a five-ounce can of tuna packed in water and drained contains about 80 percent of our daily recommended protein, plus half of the suggested niacin and one-third of the Vitamin B12. Not too shabby.
Although good ol' sandwiches are the most popular application, generations of home cooks have ably employed canned tuna in salads, casseroles, bakes, pastas, and more. In fact, just last week, I whipped up some satisfying Tuna and White Bean Wraps, using fresh vegetables and a simple vinaigrette to liven up the pantry staples. A few days after that, Dijon Tuna Burgers entered the world.
A melange of several existing recipes, these easy fish patties came together in under 30 minutes, using a handful of common ingredients costing around $2. While I enjoyed the balance between tangy mustard, zesty red pepper flakes, and sweet red bell peppers, the recipe is endlessly adaptable. Try adding in some lemon, a few fresh herbs, horseradish, mayonnaise, or even bits of celery. Just make sure to compensate for any added moisture with more breadcrumbs and perhaps another bit of egg, or the patties could fall apart.
Highly suggested: Serving the tuna burgers with peas and homemade macaroni and cheese. It's a grown-up version of a favorite childhood meal, brought to you in part by good ol' canned tuna.
- 1 (5-ounce) can albacore tuna in water, drained well
- 1 egg
- 1 scallion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons small-diced red bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 pinches red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- A few grinds fresh black pepper
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- Whole wheat bread, tomato slices, and lettuce for serving
In a mixing bowl, combine tuna, egg, scallion, red bell pepper, breadcrumbs, mustard, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Shape into 3/4-inch thick patties.
Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Gently place patties in pan. Cook until first side is browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Flip patties very carefully and cook until second side is browned, an additional 4 to 6 minutes.
Serve on toasted whole wheat bread with tomato and lettuce.