It’s been hotter than blazes this week, despite the fact it’s November. This Wednesday, I was pleasantly surprised to receive the email update from Community Seafood letting us know our fish share would be Albacore Tuna. I couldn’t wait to try a new product and new preparation, and I was immediately enticed to do a seared tuna since the fish would be sashimi grade. The Community Seafood newsletters have been hit or miss for me, but I liked the simplicity of the recipe inspired by one from Rodelio Aglibot, and I thought the dish would be perfect for an evening of hot Santa Ana winds.
After picking up the fish, I declared to my partner that I hated all of humanity (it was one of those days at work), so he jokingly asked me if I was ready to brave Whole Foods for the rest of our ingredients. I loathe grocery shopping during the best of times, but last night’s post-work dinnertime rush wasn’t so awful, after all. Prep work at home was quick, and soon I was sitting down to one of the tastiest dinners we’ve made in a long time.
Seared Tuna with Japanese Salsa
- 2 tuna steaks (big eye, yellowfin, or albacore; at least 1 1/4 in. thick, 6 oz. each)
- garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup sake
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 2-3 stalks of finely chopped green onion
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- juice of one lemon
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
Rinse tuna and pat dry. Continue to air dry on the counter while preheating your pan, as this will create a better sear. Our share this week was well over 1 pound and was at least 3 inches in the thickest part, so we used our giant cast iron skillet. (Cast iron pans seem to be the best way to get even heat distribution on our horrible electric stove.)
The original recipe called for fresh minced garlic, and the other versions online only call for a teaspoon, but we sprinkled garlic powder along with salt and pepper on all sides. If I repeated the recipe, I wouldn’t change a thing. I think fresh garlic may have overpowered the delicate sweetness of the fish, and I have an aversion to measuring.
Poor vegetable oil into the pan (this will vary on the size of your pan and the cut of your fish), when hot, add the tuna. Cook, turning gently, until seared on all sides. Since the point of this preparation is to have a raw center, do not over-cook! Pour sake and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce around fish; remove from pan and pour juices over the top and let the fish rest.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine tomatoes, green onion, cilantro, avocado, lemon juice, and remaining tablespoon soy sauce. Cut fish with the grain into slices and lay on plates. The size of your slices will vary depending on your fish portion–this week our share was really generous so our slices were much larger than the featured photo for this recipe.
Garnish with the salsa, and serve with rice or vegetables on the side.