(Alexander Rubin Photography)

Secret Recipe: Elevate your grill game with Gott's ahi tuna burger

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Gott's has built its reputation on burgers, but there's a special one on the menu that sets it apart from other burger joints: the ahi tuna burger, which made its debut when the restaurant opened in St. Helena in 1999.

"This sandwich put Gott's on the map for being a different kind of burger joint," said owner Joel Gott, and "it has remained an iconic, signature dish ever since."


Made with sushi-grade ahi tuna and served rare with ginger-wasabi slaw, the ahi burger is available at all six of Gott's Bay Area locations. Now you can also make it at home.

The recipe was recently published in The Essential Napa Valley Cookbook (which was also authored by this author), a project created in partnership with Feed Napa Now to benefit Napa Valley restaurant workers impacted by the pandemic and wildfires this past year. Consider this a sneak peek while you wait for your pre-ordered copy.

Gott's ahi burger is just one of more than 35 recipes from top Napa Valley restaurants—think Goose & Gander, Bistro Jeanty, Mustard's, and Gran Electrica—plus suggested wine pairings, featured in the book. Shake up your summer grilling with the recipe for Gott's ahi tuna burger (it's simpler than you think!) below.

Secret Recipe: Make Gott's Roadside's Ahi Tuna Burger at Home

While the recipe might seem complex at first glance, the individual steps are actually quite simple and many of the components (including the ginger-wasabi mayo, slaw base, and slaw dressing) can be prepared a day ahead. When you're ready to chow down, this burger can be grilled and assembled in a matter of minutes. Enjoy!


Ingredients

Ginger-Wasabi Mayo

4 tsp wasabi powder

4 tsp water

1¼ cups mayonnaise

½ cup pickled ginger, rinsed and strained

1½ tsp sesame oil

1½ tsp lime juice

1½ tsp soy sauce


Slaw Base

7 oz Napa cabbage, shredded

3 oz green cabbage, shredded

3 oz red cabbage, shredded

3 oz carrots, shredded


Slaw Dressing

½ cup peeled and chopped ginger root

½ cup pickled ginger, rinsed and strained

6 tbsp chopped green onions

6 tbsp soy sauce

¼ cup sesame oil

¼ cup chopped cilantro

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

4½ tsp honey

4 tsp hoisin sauce

4 tsp chili paste

1 tbsp sherry vinegar

1½ tsp red wine vinegar

1½ tsp lime juice

1 garlic clove, chopped


The Burger

4 4-oz filets of sushi-grade ahi tuna

¼ cup soy sauce

4 hamburger buns

4-6 tbsp soft butter for the buns

4 oz Ginger-Wasabi Mayo (see above)

2½ oz Slaw Dressing (see above)


Mix wasabi powder and water to form a paste. Put the paste and all other Ginger-Wasabi Mayo ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. For the Slaw Base, add all ingredients to a bowl and mix to evenly distribute. To make the Slaw Dressing, add all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. The wasabi paste, slaw base, and slaw dressing can all be made one day ahead. Store covered in the refrigerator until needed.

Preheat your grill (or grill pan). Place the ahi tuna filets into a bowl and coat with soy sauce. Let soak for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, put the slaw base in a separate bowl with the dressing and toss to fully coat.

Remove the tuna from the soy sauce and place on the grill to sear. After 30-60 seconds, lift and turn the tuna 90 degrees to make crossed grill marks. After an additional 30-90 seconds, flip ahi filet over. Repeat cook time and cross marks. Cooking time may vary depending on the tuna's thickness.

While ahi filets are cooking, butter your hamburger buns and lightly toast on the grill. Spread ginger-wasabi mayo generously onto the cut sides of all buns and then place 2 oz of slaw evenly on top of mayo. To build each burger, set the seared ahi filet on top of the slaw on the bottom bun and carefully place the top bun onto the sandwich.


// For more info and to order The Essential Napa Valley Cookbook ($40), go to napavalleycookbook.com.

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