Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuna Burgers

Tuna Burgers

Dorcas Annette Walker

Usually I am able to remember where I first tasted a food whenever I think about the circumstances of where I was at the time, but for some reason Tuna Burgers comes up blank. I probably ran across this recipe somewhere while out on the road. During the summer my daughter wouldn’t unpack her suitcase when we came home as invariably we’d be heading out again somewhere else the next week. I do know that during those whirlwind days of traveling around the United States and school days, Tuna Burgers were a lifesaver.

Tuna has been fished from the Mediterranean Sea, Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans since ancient times, but the name only dates back to 1880. A member of the mackerel family, tuna has streamlined body’s two fins, five or more finlets, and is very narrow at the tail, which is forked. Tuna are in constant motion, can cruise up to 55 mph, and have been tracked from Japan to California traveling through open ocean and waters of dozen of nations in its lifetime. To maintain this speed, tuna eats up to ten percent of its body weight daily and can reach up to 600 pounds per fish. Efforts to conserve and manage tuna’s sustainability stock are an ongoing one.

The majority of commercial tuna harvest comes from California. Only about one percent of tuna is sold as fresh fish. Canned tuna is America’s most popular fish second to shrimp. The average consumption of tuna is 3.6 pounds per person each year; a total of 1 billion pounds of canned and pouched tuna annually. Canned tuna is healthy being rich in protein, low in fat and calories, and is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Canned tuna, unopened and not damaged, has a shelf-life up to four years under normal conditions; pouched tuna has a shelf-life of three.

In March 2004 the FDA and Environmental Protection Agency reassessed their findings on mercury in fish. Their summary: It is safe for the average person and women of child-bearing age to eat up to two cans of tuna per week. Pregnant women should avoid eating tuna while young children (up to 45 pounds) can safely eat one-half a can of tuna per week. So unless you plan on eating an entire can of tuna each day, tuna is perfectly safe to eat.

My Tuna Burgers have a mild creamy tuna salad consistency laid on top of a crusty bun. These burgers can be made up ahead of time, served warm or eaten cold, or you can double the recipe and place part of the Tuna Burgers in the freezer for later meals. The Tuna Burgers take only fifteen minutes to prepare and this recipe serves ten.

Tuna Burgers

5 hamburger buns or 10 slices of bread
2 (5oz) cans of tuna
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1 c mayonnaise
½ c chopped celery
1 tb minced onion
Salt and pepper

Place hamburger bun halves on a large tray. In a medium-sized bowl mix together thoroughly tuna, cheese, mayonnaise, celery, onion, and shake in salt and pepper to taste. Divide and place a heaping tb on each hamburger half. Bake for 15 minutes at 350ยบ until the cheese is melted. Cool for fifteen minutes and then serve with celery sticks or a tossed salad!

Weekly tip: Salad tip #3: Never cut salad greens with a knife. Instead tear them with your fingers into bite-size pieces as cutting greens with a knife will turn the edges brown!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:

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