Sunday, October 12, 2008

Seared Tuna with Ginger, Cilantro and Soy Glaze

This is the easiest thing you will ever make, and possibly the tastiest. And best of all, it's good for you.

In fact, the key to preparing tuna, or any fish, is finding the best, freshest quality available to you. Find a fish that died happy and healthy, not too far in the distant past and half the work's done for you.

A tired or sub par piece of fish will never be good, no matter what you do to it. And conversely, a great piece of fish really doesn't need much. Particularly with tuna - you literally shouldn't do much to it. Just get your pan hot, add a little olive oil and sear, NO MORE than 1 1/2 minutes per side, depending on thickness.

If you are a person who eats their tuna completely cooked through, I'm not sure you'll get all the lovely nuances from this dish. (Not that I'm judging or anything - I used to drink white zin.) But the point is to get a nice seared, golden outside, and leave the interior at peace. After the meat's rested, your knife should glide through easily to reveal the preserved ruby red, rare interior.

Be sure to choose wild tuna if you can get it - a piece about two inches thick with color as vivid and brazen as dark cherry lipstick. Since the cilantro and avocado top hat do double duty as salad and garnish, I like to serve this with mashed potatoes with a little chive snipped in, or if I'm feeling completely virtuous, bok choy I blanch in salted water, then stir around a hot pan with a little low sodium soy sauce and a smidge of honey until I get bored.

Enjoy, and as my mother in law Charlotte says, "Keep those pans hot!"

Pan Seared Tuna with Avocado, Soy, Ginger, Cilantro and Lime
Serves 4

Leaves from 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
2 SMALL jalapenos, sliced (add to taste)
4 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, grated (I used a couple of shakes of powder instead)
4 limes, juiced
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil
4 (6 ounce) blocks sushi-quality tuna
2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced

In a mixing bowl, combine the cilantro, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, and a small splash (not quite a tablespoon) of olive oil. Stir the ingredients together until well incorporated.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the tuna pieces generously with salt and pepper. Lay the tuna in the hot oil and sear for 1 minute to form a slight crust; flip and sear the other side 1 minute. Pour half of the cilantro mixture into the pan to coat the fish. Transfer the seared tuna to plates and serve with the sliced avocado and the remaining cilantro sauce drizzled over the whole plate.

PS - Dad, this is the tuna I made for you and Sally in Minneapolis.


Haley said...

Oh, this sounds great! I love tuna and avocado and cilantro! Now, I don't like my tuna cold, but I agree that it should be a good medium-rare to medium.

foodbin said...

tuna with avocado-love it.