Spring means barbecue – so bring on the ahi burgers
Special to the Appeal
It’s spring time. Gather your friends and family, it’s time to dust off the old barbecue and fire it up for fantastic grilled ahi burgers, one of the most popular lunch dishes here at Adele’s.
The recipe today is a variation of that dish.
For those of you who have been reading my newspaper column through the years, you know how I feel about trying to buy fish in some of the immediately available butchers and meat departments in grocery stores. Maybe someday someone will take the citizens of Carson City seriously and put together a first-class fish and specialty store.
Reno has a couple of very nice places such as this. They have Butcher Boy on South Virginia and Blue Bounty on the corner of Moana and Lakeside.
However, I have seen some fairly nice ahi at Costco and Raley’s.
For this recipe you will need six-ounce filets approximately three-quarters to a half-inch thick and you will want them to be at least 4 to 5 inches in circumference. That’s why a fish market cutting the fish directly from the filet is the best procedure.
The hardest part of this recipe is the time it takes for the preparation of the burger/sandwich. I like to serve it with grilled onions, roasted peppers and a smoked paprika garlic aioli. The smoked paprika is a version from Spain that can be found at Wild Oats and Whole Foods (soon to open). I have also seen it at Trader Joe’s, but it is spotty. A variation on this type of aioli would be roasted pepper, which I will give you in this recipe.
Bread is a very important part of this recipe. Ciabatta bread is the best. Trader Joe’s has a perfectly sized Truckee Sourdough version of a ciabatta roll. The onions you use make a difference too. You want the sweetest yellow onion you can find on the market. I recommend the Peri Brothers yellow onions from Yerington.
One of the toppings will be crispy strips of applewood smoked bacon. Trader Joe’s has a Neieman Ranch smoked bacon that is perfect for this dish.
At home I like to serve this dish with melted cheese such as fontina or smoked gouda. Both are easily found in most of our grocery stores. You will also want to find ripe beefsteak tomatoes or other large tomatoes and I like a crisp wedge of iceberg lettuce.
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.
Adele’s Ahi Burger
For 6 ahi burgers
6 six-ounce Ahi filets approximately three-quarters to a half-inch thick and at least 4 to 5 inches in circumference
.1Ú2 cup thin sliced sweet onions per sandwich
1Ú2 a roasted red pepper per sandwich
2 slices cheese per sandwich (your choice)
2 slices smoked bacon per sandwich
To prepare the burger, sauté onions with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Roast the red bell pepper and place in a plastic or paper bag for about 15 minutes to sweat and then place under cold running water and rinse the charred skin off. Remove seeds and set aside.
Slice your tomatoes and cut lettuce into wedges. Set aside.
In preparing the ahi, your grill must be hot. If using charcoal make sure the coals are white. I like my ahi cooked to medium rare but for those who like it more well done just leave it on the grill longer. However, ahi cooks rapidly and will get dried out quickly. For medium rare cook no more than 2 minutes per side. Set aside.
You can either grill your ciabatta rolls or warm them in an oven. The important thing is that you do not serve them cold. Spread the aioli sauce on the top and bottom of each roll. Let them sit for a minute so that it works its way into the dough.
When assembling the sandwiches place your ahi on the bottom and then the onions and pepper on top. Then place the sliced cheese on top. I like to put that part of the sandwich under a broiler long enough to melt the cheese (2 or 3 minutes only). Add the bacon, tomato, lettuce and the top part of the roll and away you go.
A nice spring veggie salad with a simple vinaigrette dressing would go well with this dish. Get your favorite beer or a nice Fume Blanc and you’re all set.
Charlie’s quick aioli recipe
1Ú4 cup organic mayonnaise
1Ú4 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1Ú2 a roasted and peeled red bell pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1Ú4 teaspoon spicy chili sauce (Tabasco or other favorite brand)
1Ú2 teaspoon whole grain mustard
Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse for about 2 minutes.
• Charlie Abowd is the owner and chef at Adele’s. He and his wife, Karen, have lived in Carson City since 1980. Charlie is a fourth-generation restauranteur.