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Spicy Tuna Burgers a BBQ Treat

In Provence, it is quite common to see fresh tuna displayed on a fishmonger’s stand. So what to do with that fresh catch? Of course, there is the classic Salad Niçoise (click here for recipes) or light up the grill and enjoy the Asian flavours in this recipe for Spicy Tuna Burgers.

Spicy Tuna Burgers

Spicy Tuna Burgers

Asian flavours are more and more common in Provence, due to demand from visitors and locals.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine French
Servings 2 people


For the Burgers:

  • 3/4 pound Tuna Fillet very cold
  • 2 inch piece of Ginger peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Chives chopped
  • 1 tbsp Sesame-Ginger Mayonnaise see note below
  • 1 Lime for zest
  • 1 tsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 tsp Sambal Oelek
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed Coriander Seeds
  • 4 basil leaves chopped
  • 1 Hamburger Bun sliced in half horizontally

Marinated Cucumbers:

  • 1 Kirby (pickling) Cucumber or a larger variety, peeled and seeded
  • 2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Sugar

For Garnish:

  • Sesame-Ginger Mayonnaise for garnish, see note below
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds for garnish


  • Make the mayonnaise. This is best done a day in advance. You can also use commercial mayonnaise to which you will need to add some grated ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce and a little samba oelek. If you make fresh mayonnaise, you will have a lot leftover. If you doctor commercial mayonnaise, add the flavorings to 1/2 cup mayo, but use lesser amounts.
  • Wash and slice cucumbers thinly. Toss them with the sugar and vinegar and let sit to marinate for at least 20 minutes, up to an hour.
  • Dice the tuna finely - no large than 1/4 inch. (It is easier to do when the tuna is very cold - even partially frozen.)
  • Mix all the burger ingredients well and form into two large patties.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. Heat your grill - charcoal or gas - to high.
  • When the grill is hot, oil the grate very well, as the tuna will stick.
  • Place “burgers” on the grill and cook about 2 minutes per side, depending on how rare you like your tuna. When you flip them, move them to a portion of the grill that is oiled but has not yet been used. This will reduce sticking on the second side.
  • Place cooked burgers on half a bun, top with a generous dollop of the mayonnaise, and arrange some pickled cucumber slices on top.
  • Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.


Sesame-Ginger Mayonnaise - Recipe in this POST - make in the morning or previous day
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

“Most catches of the Atlantic bluefin tuna are taken from the Mediterranean Sea, which is the most important bluefin tuna fishery in the world.” According to the World Wildlife Federation. Much of that tuna reaches wholesalers and finally retailers via the Port of Sète (read more here).

La Criee Sete

La Criee Sète – Fish Auction

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David Scott Allen

David Scott Allen

David Scott Allen is the author, photographer, and cook behind Cocoa & Lavender, a weekly food blog based in Tucson, Arizona. Passionate about travel, he especially enjoys eating traditional foods and learning local customs, whether in the United States or around the globe.

David's first trip to France took place when he was 14, and he returned as often as possible thereafter. However, it wasn't until his 50th birthday that he finally made it south to Provence. The beauty, history, charm, warmth, cuisine, and - of course - the rosé wines captured his heart. He shares his Provençal recipes here on Perfectly Provence, and his food and wine pairings monthly on the Provence WineZine.

David is a firm believer that sharing a meal with friends around the table is one of life's greatest pleasures. And if it happens to be in Provence, all the better!

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