Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pepper Crusted Ahi Tuna Salad

I love making dishes at home and saying, "I would order that in a restaurant!" Then I make Jim tell me how much he would pay for this same dish if we were eating out. Does anyone else do that?  The name of this meal sounds so complicated, but this could not have been easier! We will definitely be working this into a bi-weekly or at least monthly meal plan.

As with any great dish, I believe it's most important to start with good ingredients. When it comes to fish I think it is incredibly important to buy fresh. I absolutely trust my fish monger at Whole Foods, he has never steered me wrong. Ahi tuna is a sushi grade tuna steak, although the guys at Whole Foods will tell you to sear it a little and not to eat it completely raw. Do you see the price on this? $12.39 is a really good price considering we bought over half a pound which ended up being two GENEROUS portions.

Unlike most fish, which have white flesh, the muscle tissue of tuna ranges from pink to dark red. Ahi tuna is also known as yellowfin tuna - I bet you've seen that on a sushi menu.

If you have ever seen Steak Au Poivre on a restaurant menu, it is French meaning "pepper." The steak is rolled in crushed peppercorns before searing. To recreate this at home, I put some black peppercorns in my mortar and pestle.

The pestle is the heavy bat-shaped object, and the mortar is a bowl, typically made of hard wood, ceramic or stone.

Once the peppercorns are ground to the consistency I like, I press them all over the tuna steak. If you aren't ready for this to sear next, just wrap it up and place it back in the fridge. I've also seen tuna steaks rolled in sesame seeds (yum).

I used a non stick pan and heated it over medium heat. No oil, just a dry pan.  Tuna steak is most commonly served medium-rare, but you should cook this to your preference. Once the pan was very hot, I put the tuna steak down and set the timer for 2 minutes, then flip, and set the time for 2 more minutes.

This is exactly how I like my tuna steak. It has a nice sear around the outside and it's a little bit cooked but still rare in the middle.

Now to prepare the rest of the dish. I used this Stonewall Kitchen Cilantro Lime Dressing because I thought the spicy cilantro and citrus notes would pair well with the Ahi Tuna since I tend to think of it as an Asian inspired dish. I guess cilantro and lime would also be interpreted as Mexican flavors.

I added a diced avocado to our salad, so maybe this was a more Mexican salad? No matter what you call it, call it good! Your food doesn't always have to fit into a box. Eat what you like, make "fusions" of your favorite flavors and just go with it.

I lightly tossed the mixed greens with the dressing, then diced each half of the avocado and placed it on the side of the plate. The star was the tuna which I sliced against the grain and placed on top of the greens. Both Jim and I absolutely loved this salad. It was a cinch to make, completely healthy and tasted amazing.

Jim would pay $18 for this salad.

1 comment:

  1. Mandy! This is exactly the kind of ahi tuna dish my husband and I have been looking for! :) Thanks!!


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