Grilled Opah with Hawaiian Sea Salt and Mango-Papaya-Avocado Salsa


Opah is a Hawaiian fish that grills beautifully thanks to its meaty texture, but has a mild flavor that even hesitant fish eaters can appreciate, especially when topped with a fresh tropical fruit salsa with creamy avocado. I don’t know about you, but I sure could use a mental vacation right now, in lieu of real one, which would require too much money and require boarding a plane with my toddler.


I’ll never forget our last spring break in Japan in 2008 when we met my family in Kauai for several days.  On our second evening there, my dad barbecued mahi-mahi and opakapaka (Hawaiian pink snapper) and we ate on the ocean-view porch of our Waimea Plantation Cottage. The combination of the grilled local fish, the mai tais, and the sunset was heaven, and it fully rejuvenated us to return to Japan to finish up our semester of English classes.

Dustin was recently given two types of Hawaiian sea salt as a gift from a co-worker. When we saw the beautiful Opah fillets at the fish counter, we remembered our Kauai vacation and knew they would be a perfect match for our Hawaiian salt. The first one is “Black Lava” and is a mixture of flake sea salt and charcoal, hence its pitch black color. The other is “Alaea Red” and is a coarse sea salt that gets its color from ‘Alaea or Hawaiian red clay.


When we took the Opah off of the grill, we let it rest  like you would with any thick cut of meat, then topped it with generous spoonfuls of our colorful mango-papaya-avocado salsa, and served it next to a scoop of white rice, sprinkled with a little of the black lava salt. Some arugula lightly dressed with fresh lemon rounded out this healthy summer dinner. If you don’t have a Hawaiian vacation coming up (I can sympathize), make this for dinner, fix yourself a mai tai (or pour yourself a glass of beer – beer pairing suggestion below), enjoy the lingering daylight, and give yourself a break. You deserve it. Sunset not included.


Grilled Opah with Hawaiian Sea Salt and Mango-Papaya-Avocado Salsa

(serves 4)

2 lbs. Hawaiian Opah*
Extra virgin olive oil
Hawaiian sea salt (check out www.alohaspice.com for the varieties I mentioned) or just sub coarse salt or Kosher salt
1 mango, pitted, peeled, and diced (don’t know the best way to cut a mango? Here’s a hint)
1 small papaya, peeled, seeds removed, and diced
1 ripe avocado, diced
Juice from 1 small lime (or to taste)
Agave nectar, to taste
A pinch of chili flakes (optional, but tasty)
Accompaniments: steamed rice; arugula tossed with fresh lemon juice

*We bought one huge piece of Opah that we later cut into individual portions, but you can also buy 4 fillets, about 1/2 a lb. each

  • Take the Opah out of the refrigerator rub with olive oil. Season lightly with sea salt (we used a little of each variety of Hawaiian sea salt) and set aside (at room temperature). Meanwhile, prepare a charcoal grill (or a gas grill on high heat).
  • In a small bowl, combine the mango, papaya, and avocado. Add lime juice, a drizzle of agave nectar, the chili flakes (if using), and a little salt and pepper. Gently stir everything together, taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary. Cover and refrigerate.
  • When the grill is ready, oil the grill grates. Add the Opah and grill until just cooked through, but not overdone, about 3-6 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your fillets (ours were about 2-3 inches). Let rest for a couple minutes, then cut into 4 pieces.
  • Place the Opah on plates and spoon some salsa over the top. Serve with steamed rice, and a handful of arugula tossed with some freshly squeezed lemon juice. Go ahead and add a little sprinkling of sea salt too!

Beer Pairing Suggestion: We opened up a bottle of Tiger Baby: Open Windows Open Hills (how’s that for a name!? – it’s actually named after a Danish electro-pop group) by Mikkeller. To quote one fan from Beer Advocate:  ” In the aroma, citrus notes of island fruit. In the taste, sweet to dry fruitiness and citrus, especially mango. A small fruit bite and a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a small citrus fruit skin in the aftertaste. Big fruity presence, almost chardonnay like, quite superb!” We happened to agree. It went especially well with the mango-papaya-avocado salsa.

Pork Scaloppine with Lemon, Capers, and Arugula with Zucchini Pancakes


I’ve always loved to read cookbooks; I certainly grew up around plenty of them, along with every issue of Gourmet since the late 60s. We have three shelves in our own kitchen that are filled with cookbooks and another bookshelf in the living room that’s reserved for food magazines (because apparently it’s in my genes; I can’t throw them away). The cookbooks’ colorful bindings caught Levi’s eye at a young age. In fact, he invented a game with his grandma called “count the cookbooks” – we stand in front of the shelves and he makes his counting sound, which sounds like “one-two-one-two” repeated over and over, while pointing to as many as he can.

I’ve been drooling over this particular one for a while now; I bought it as a gift for my mom several years ago and just recently acquired it last Christmas, thanks to my aunt and uncle – Heart of the Artichoke by David Tanis. For more than 25 years, he was the chef at Alice Waters’ restaurant, Chez Panisse in Berkeley (retired in October), which I’ve mentioned before is one of my absolute favorite restaurants. The set menu in the fancy downstairs restaurant changes nightly and revolves around whatever fresh, seasonal ingredients are available on that particular day, and the café  upstairs offers seasonally inspired pastas, pizzas and more in a slightly more casual, kid-friendly environment. Heart of the Artichoke features several menus for each season, prefaced with a section called “Kitchen Rituals” where he shares 14 “cooking moments” – either small cooking projects for 1 or 2 people, or simply a food experience/memory, such as eating oatmeal for breakfast as a child.

This meal in the “Spring Menus” section was beckoning to me back in March, but I was jumping the gun a bit with my seasons and zucchini had not yet appeared at the store. Now that it’s June, it’s plentiful, and I’m glad that I saw the bookmark in my cookbook, reminding me to make pork scaloppine with zucchini pancakes! It’s a wonderful feeling when you sit down to dinner, take that first bite, and exclaim “hey, I’d pay for this.” That was the case for this meal, so naturally, I’m recommending this cookbook for those who strive to eat simply and by the seasons!

The thin slices of pork for the scaloppine come from the lean end of a boneless pork loin (ask your butcher to do this and hopefully yours will happily comply as ours did). They cook nice and quickly and remain tender. The sauce takes under 60 seconds to make but is full of bright flavors (in fact, if you decide to halve this recipe for a family of 2-3, I’d recommend making the full amount of sauce; it won’t go to waste). You simply heat olive oil in a skillet, add garlic, capers, lemon zest, and parsley and let it sizzle for just under a minute. You pour this awesome concoction on top of your slices of pork and top with verdant, peppery arugula and lemon wedges. You can see why taking that first bite made me happy. And I haven’t even gotten to the zucchini pancakes yet!


Grated zucchini and finely chopped green onion bound with egg and a little flour are fried in olive oil and scream “beginning of summer!” While they make a great accompaniment to the pork scaloppine, I plan on making them on their own as an appetizer sometime in the near future; Maybe topped with some minted yogurt or a dollop of fresh ricotta cheese. I made the zucchini pancakes first and kept them warm in a low oven while we cooked the pork (because we only have so many skillets), but they would be best eaten hot out of the pan!


Pork Scaloppine with Lemon, Capers, and Arugula

(From Heart of the Artichoke by David Tanis – Serves 4-6)

12 thin (about 3/8-inch-thick) slices pork loin
Salt & Pepper
1/2 cup olive oil (give or take)
2 TBS. roughly chopped parsley
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 TBS. capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 lb. arugula, chopped (we bought baby arugula and left the leaves whole)
Lemon wedges

  • Season both sides of the pork slices with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Heat 2 cast iron skillets over medium-high heat. When the pans are hot, lay 6 slices of pork in each pan and cook for about 2 minutes, or until nicely browned. Turn and cook for another 2 minutes on the other side. Remove the scaloppine from the pans and transfer to a warm serving platter.
  • In one of the pans, heat 2 TBS. of olive oil over medium heat. Add the parsley, lemon zest, capers, and garlic and let sizzle for a bare minute. Turn off the heat. Spoon the sauce over the scaloppine and top each slice of pork with a handful of arugula. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve immediately.


Zucchini Pancakes

(Also from Heart of the Artichoke by David Tanis – Serves 4-6)

8 to 10 small zucchini, about 3 lbs.
2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
3 TBS. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano (optional – we decided to omit this as we wanted a pure zucchini flavor, but Tanis says that adding the cheese reminds him of eating a zucchini frittata, which sounds delicious)
Olive oil for frying

  • Grate the zucchini using the medium holes of a box grater. Toss the grated zucchini with the salt and let drain in a colander for about 20 min. Squeeze very dry, using a clean kitchen towel.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the pepper and scallions. Add the flour, then add the grated zucchini and the cheese (if using). Mix thoroughly.
  • Pour olive oil into a cast iron skillet to a depth of 1/4 inch and heat over medium heat. Carefully place spoonfuls of the zucchini mixture into the pan and flatten into discs with a 2-inch diameter. Make a few at a time, so as not to overcrowd the pan. Turn them once, letting them cook for about 3-4 min. on each side or until golden. Keep the heat at moderate so they don’t brown too quickly. Serve immediately or transfer to a warm oven until the entire batch is cooked. Serve with the Pork Scaloppine.

That beer in the background? It was a German Hopf Helle Weisse – a type of Hefeweizen. It paired wonderfully with this meal.

Frita Cubana Sliders (for Krystal’s Virtual Baby Shower!)


When I first started this blog back in 2007, I wanted to archive the recipes that we threw together on a weeknight in our little Japanese kitchen. I never gave much thought to the people actually reading it, except maybe close friends and family. But then something happened over the next year or two – I discovered a community of people who also love to take pictures of their food and write about it, and a handful have become good friends.

Although I’ve never met any of these ladies in person (yet!) I feel like I know them, which is a pretty cool thing. Take Krystal for example, of Mrs. Regueiro’s Plate. We were first “introduced” on a recipe board where we both are frequent posters. When I was assigned her thin-crust pizza for an Italian-themed recipe swap, we were able to talk more about our experiences in Italy. Through comments back and forth on our blogs, it’s pretty safe to say that this Santa Cruz girl and LA girl would get along quite well. Guess what? Krystal and her husband Eric are expecting their first child in May (gender is a surprise – I love that!)

To celebrate this exciting time in their lives, Joelen of What’s Cookin’ Chicago is hosting this virtual baby shower, and I’m so excited to be a part of it. In honor of Krystal’s Filipino background and Eric’s Cuban background, Joelen asked some of Krystal’s favorite bloggers to prepare either a Filipino or Cuban dish for a baby shower fiesta.

Excited to try a new type of cuisine, I spent an afternoon doing some research.  I found myself leaning towards a Cuban dish because I was intrigued by the flavors and knew the least about the culture. I came across several recipes for a Frita Cubana – or Cuban Hamburger – and was drawn to the concept. A beef & chorizo patty is topped with a liberal handful of fried shoestring potatoes, and a generous amount of sweet & vinegary spiced ketchup. Festive, flavorful, and undeniably Cuban, I decided this was going to be my shower offering! Krystal, these sliders are fun and will add a little spice to the party – just like you! I wish you the best as you get ready to welcome your little one into the world!

To accompany your frita cubana sliders, I made a refreshing salad of fresh, chopped romaine, crunchy jicama, sweet orange, and cool avocado.


Visit the full roundup here! Krystal & Eric’s Baby Shower Fiesta!

Frita Cubana Sliders

(makes 12-16 sliders – slightly adapted form Saveur)

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. Spanish chorizo, casings removed
1/2 cup crushed saltine crackers (about 10)
2 TBS. finely chopped yellow onion
1 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
Canola oil, for frying
2 large russet potatoes, peeled
soft slider rolls, split in half
Secret Sauce (recipe below)

  • In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, chorizo, crushed crackers, onions, paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper; Using your hands, mix everything together until just combined. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate for 30 minutes. Form into slider-sized round, thin, patties.
  • Pour oil into a 4-qt. saucepan until it reaches a depth of 2 inches. Heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 330°. Meanwhile, working over a large bowl, grate potato using the large-holed side of a box grater. Soak grated potatoes in water for 1 minute and drain. Spread potatoes on a kitchen towel and pat dry. Working in batches, fry potatoes until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to paper towels and season lightly with salt; set aside.
  • Prepare a charcoal grill. Grill the patties until cooked through and nicely browned. Spread some secret sauce on each slider bun, and place the patties on top. Top with a generous mound of fried potatoes. Drizzle with more sauce.


Secret Sauce for a Frita Cubana

(from 3 Guys from Miami)

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

  • Mix all of the ingredients together in a two-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and let cool. Use generously on your frita cubana sliders!

Grilled Halloumi with Rosemary-Grape-Walnut Relish & Garlic Bread


Here we are in the heart of grilling season. There are a lot of enticing recipes out there – most of which revolve around meat – but I’m going to share something a little different, and if you’re a cheese-lover like me, you are sure to get excited about this one. It’s a cheese plate on the grill! A grilling cheese like halloumi or yanni can withstand the heat of the grill without melting. It softens nicely on the inside, and appealing golden grill marks form on its exterior. The creamy, slightly salty taste is a brilliant match for the sweet rosemary-grape-walnut relish and the the rustic, grilled garlic bread. The relish gets a delicious sweet, smoky flavor from cooking the bunch of grapes directly on the grill (I bet you’ve never grilled grapes before!) The garlic bread adds a nice savory counterpoint. Try this as an appetizer at your next BBQ, or as a dinner in itself (as we did) served with a salad dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette. Dining al fresco makes it taste even better.


Grilled Halloumi with Rosemary-Grape-Walnut Relish & Garlic Bread

(From the June/July 2011 issue of Fine Cooking)

1 medium red onion, cut into 3 to 4 thick slices
2 Tbs. plus 4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 oz. halloumi cheese, cut into 3/8-inch-thick slabs (we used Yanni, a Mediterranean grilling cheese)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 small loaf of ciabatta (about 8 oz.),cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
1 large bunch seedless black or red grapes (about 1-1/4 lb.)
2 to 3 tsp. balsamic vinegar

  • Prepare a charcoal or (high) gas grill.
  • Drizzle the onion slices with 2 tsp. of the oil and lightly season them with salt and pepper.
  • Pat the cheese dry and drizzle with 2 tsp. of the oil.
  • In a small bowl, mix the remaining 2 Tbs. of oil, the garlic, and a pinch each of salt and pepper; brush the mixture evenly over one side of the bread slices.
  • Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a small skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until golden-brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Coarsely chop the walnuts while still hot and transfer them to a medium bowl. Mix in the rosemary.
  • Place the onion slices and the bunch of grapes on the grill. Cover and grill, turning once, until the grapes are bursting and the onions are grill marked, about 10 minutes. Transfer the grapes to the bowl with the walnuts, and the onions to a cutting board.
  • Use tongs to pull the grapes from their stems as well as crush them one by one before dropping them into the bowl with the walnuts & rosemary. Chop the grilled onions and add them to the bowl. Season to taste with the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Set relish aside.
  • Clean and oil the grill grate. Place the bread and cheese on the grate and grill uncovered, turning once, until there are nice grill marks on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Divide the bread, cheese, and relish among 4 plates (if enjoying as an appetizer) or 2 plates (as a main dish) and enjoy immediately. A lighter bodied red wine pairs wonderfully with this meal.

And yes, I’m aware of the sippy cup in the background of our pictures. “You know you’re food blogger-mom when …”

Yakitori


We miss our “yakitori man.” There was a supermarket right across the street from our apartment in Japan, and every Friday a man would set up a little red cart right out front. Starting at about 10 am, we’d start to smell that sweet sauce brushed over skewered chicken (and other meats) cooking over an open flame, and it became the official smell of Fridays in Japan. Especially in the winter (because the warmth of the grill felt good in the 20 degree air), we would walk across the street to get yakitori for dinner. We were the only foreigners in our neighborhood, so I wonder if he thought it was slightly odd that these Americans stood in his line on Fridays and butchered the ordering of his tasty, skewered treats.

In Japanese, the counting system is far from consistent. Depending on the shape of the item (flat, round, stick-like) or the state of its being (animal, human, large electrical appliance) there is a different way to count. Of course the first time we tried to order 8 yakitori skewers, we used the wrong word for 8, and he kindly corrected us. That’s how we learned the correct way to order 8 stick-like objects.

The chicken itself was never the best quality. In fact, most of the pieces were more fat than meat. But the sauce that the yakitori man brushed on those skewers as they were cooking was so addicting, that somehow we tolderated the fatty chicken and ate it anyway. To enjoy yakitori at home, we recommend using boneless skinless thigh meat, like we did last night. Serve the skewers over steamed white rice and some cucumber salad (marinate sliced cucumbers in rice vinegar, sliced chiles, and salt and sugar to taste), because something pickled cuts through the richness of the sauce and the slight amount of fat on the chicken.

Yakitori

(serves 3-4)

1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine)
1-2 TBS. brown sugar
5 green onions (thick green onions work best)
6-8 bamboo skewers

  • Combine equal parts soy sauce and mirin (we used about 1/4 cup each), and the brown sugar in a large baking dish that’s long enough for the skewers to fit into.  Taste and add more brown sugar if you like a sweeter sauce. Add the chicken pieces and toss well to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or overnight.
  • Meanwhile, soak bamboo skewers in water.
  • Slice the thick part of the green onions into 1-inch long pieces, reserving the thinner green part for another use. Set aside. Prepare your grill (use charcoal for best taste!)
  • Assemble the yakitori. Take the chicken pieces out of the marinade and put on the skewers, along with the green onion pieces. Grill for 5-6 minutes on each side, or until chicken is browned and cooked through.
  • Serve with steamed rice, cucumber salad, and miso soup.

Olive Oil Poached Tuna with Caper-Olive Vinaigrette


They say you learn something new every day. Well, yesterday we learned about poaching. Fish, in particular. It’s a pretty cool process. You allow a 1 inch-thick cut of fish (like tuna, halibut or salmon) to sit at room temperature for an hour. Then you submerge it in a bath of warm oil and immediately transfer it to an oven where it hangs out for 25 minutes at a low temperature. At the end of 25 minutes, these weird little white dots form on the surface of the fish (called albumin, which are protein) and that’s your cue that it’s ready to eat. The result is tender, flavorful fish!

This is the first recipe we’ve tried from Fine Cooking magazine, and we loved how easy and straight forward the directions were. (I’m still in denial that Gourmet is gone, but so far Fine Cooking is filling a tiny part of that void in my life). Our tuna didn’t look as pink as the magazine picture when we took it out of the oil, but it tasted amazing, so we’re going to assume that we did everything fine! You’ll love the caper-olive vinaigrette (which we had to make in a food processor, since we don’t have a blender). It’s something that you’ll want to make again to accompany any kind of fish, shrimp, or even lamb. Some roasted vegetables (fingerling potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and red beets) were a nice accompaniment. This recipe serves 4.

Olive Oil Poached Tuna with Caper-Olive Vinaigrette

(From the April/May 2010 issue of Fine Cooking)

For the Tuna:

1 clove garlic
Kosher salt
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 to 6 cups extra-virgin olive oil*
4 1-inch-thick tuna steaks (6- to 7-oz. each)

For the Vinaigrette:

1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 TBS. capers, rinsed and drained
4 Kalamata olives, pitted
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp/ granulated sugar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • Peel and smash the garlic clove and a pinch of salt to a paste (using a mortar and pestle or by mincing and mashing with the side of a chef’s knife – we did the latter).
  • Combine the garlic paste, rosemary, 1 tsp. salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Add just enough oil to turn the spice mixture into a smooth paste, about 1/2 tsp. Rub the paste over the tuna. It will be sparse. Let the tuna sit at room temperature for about an hour.
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 225 degrees.
  • Measure the thickness of the tuna steaks and add the same depth of oil to a 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan.
  • Heat over low heat until the oil reaches 120 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes. Put the tuna steaks in the oil in a single layer and immediately transfer the pan to the oven. Poach until a few small whitish droplets rise to the surface of the tuna, and the center of the fish is rosy, 25 minutes.
  • While the fish poaches, combine the parsley, capers, olives, garlic, vinegar, and sugar in a blender and blend to a coarse puree. With the motor running, pour the olive oil through the hole in the blender’s lid and puree until incorporated. Taste for salt (it may not need any — we didn’t add any) and set aside.
  • Transfer the tuna to a wire rack set over paper towels to drain for a few minutes. Serve with the vinaigrette spooned over each steak.

* this recipe uses a lot of oil, doesn’t it? You can save it to do more poaching (of fish) in the near future – let it cool to room temp, then strain through a sieve lined with a coffee filter (but stop straining before you reach the bottom because the seafood releases some liquid during cooking that settles there). Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. But our advice is just to buy some cheap-ish olive oil at the grocery store, because really, how much poached fish can you eat in 3 weeks?  It’s up to you!

Turkey-Pesto Burgers with Grilled Onions

Do you ever go to the store with no idea of what you want to make for dinner? Last Monday was one of those days. I went to the Butcher counter and started to panic because it was almost my turn and I couldn’t focus: Hmm…that fish looks nice and fresh…So do those steaks…Dustin would like steak…But I feel like chicken…hmm…boneless and skinless chicken thighs…Would those be good on the BBQ?…no…oh, ground meats…what about … ?? “Can I help you?” The butcher asked, startling my train of thought. So I asked for the thing that was right in front of me – ground turkey thighs. Whew. Now that the protein was taken care of, things started to fall into place in my brain. I remembered that we had fresh basil at home, as well as tons of mizuna so I immediately thought of pesto and went straight to the bulk aisle for walnuts to add to it.

So that was my boring thought process of how I ended up mixing pesto into our turkey burgers. The result was a really moist, flavorful burger. I called Nikita (if you haven’t noticed, we love to cook and eat dinner together) to inform her of the menu, and soon she came over to enjoy them with us, bringing with her some summery micro brews and a bag of Kettle Chips (our favorite flavor “Buffalo Bleu”). We ate our burgers on sesame-wheat buns (brushed with olive oil and lightly grilled), with sliced tomato, grilled white onions, and mayo. They were sort of messy (think Carls’ Jr. ads) but delicious. I can’t wait to see what happens next time I’m under pressure at the meat counter!

Turkey-Pesto Burgers with Grilled Onions

2-3 cups of basil leaves, washed and dried*
a big handful of walnut pieces, lightly toasted in a skillet
1 clove of garlic
a handful of Parmesan cheese
juice of 1/2 a lime
about 1/4 cup of olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
1 lb. ground turkey
hamburger buns of your choice
1 sweet white onion, sliced into thick rings
tomato slices
mayo

*I didn’t have quite enough basil, so I added some mizuna leaves. It gave the pesto a wonderful bite to it. You could also add arugula for the same effect.

  • First, make the pesto: Combine the basil, mizuna (if using), walnuts, garlic, Parmesan, and lime juice in a food processor. Process until smooth. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil, until it reaches a good consistency. Season with salt & pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Pour pesto into a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate until use (Makes about 1 cup – more than needed for the burgers, but you can freeze it if you want).
  • Place the ground turkey in a large bowl. Season the top with salt & pepper. Add 3 or 4 heaping spoonfuls of pesto to the bowl. Mix with your hands until pesto is incorporated into the meat. Divide meat into 4-5 portions (depending on how thick you like your burgers), form patties, and place on a plate. Cover and chill while you prepare the grill.
  • Brush the tops and bottoms of the buns with olive oil and set aside. Brush onion slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Grill onions until nice and charred, about 3-4 minutes on each side.
  • Grill burgers about 4-5 minutes on each side. When the burgers are almost done, grill the tops and bottoms of the buns until golden and toasty.
  • Assemble burgers how you like – we used this order: mayo, patty, grilled onions, tomato. Dig in!