Saturday, June 23, 2007
Seared Ahi Tuna with Asian Cabbage Slaw
Most Friday nights, I have a relaxation ritual. I draw a deep bath, pour myself some wine and soak for nearly an hour while I listen to the archives of my favorite radio show, The Splendid Table, on NPR.
Last week I happened to catch a show where Natalie MacLean, a Canadian wine expert and award-winning author, was being interviewed about the little-known historical facts of champagne making. She was so lively, engaging and the antithesis of a wine snob that I had to check out her Web site and sign up for her free newsletter.
That resulted in some back and forth emails and now I almost dare to call her an e-friend. A friend with great wine knowledge!
So anyway, back to cooking, she has a wine and food matching tool on her site that I adore. For today's ahi recipe, I searched for sushi, tuna, seared tuna and came up with several great recommendations for red or white wine. But the heat dictated, and I went with a Sauvignon Blanc.
Nat - thank you! I might have gone with a lighter white wine, but the Sauvignon Blanc was perfect. It held it's own against the Asian flavors of the slaw and the spice of the ahi crust. Delicious!
Seared Ahi with Asian Cabbage Slaw:
1/2 lb piece of fresh ahi tuna (from a reputable place)
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
Cayenne pepper to taste
Toasted Sesame Seeds
Vegetable oil for searing
1/2 small head cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, shredded
1 thai chili or serrano chili, deveined and de-seeded, chopped finely
1/2 c cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 c rice vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs lemon juice or fresh citrus juice (I used pink grapefruit)
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp sesame oil
Mix all slaw ingredients, let stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. (can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator) Meanwhile, mix all dry ingredients for tuna crust. Press all sides of tune into dry mixture, let stand for 10-15 minutes to allow tuna to come to room temperature.
Heat a saute pan over medium to high heat. I recommend using vegetable oil here to avoid burning. Sear tuna for 15-30 seconds on all sides - don't burn, you just want a sear.
Remove tuna from pan, slice thinly and layer over slaw. Serve immediately, or chill whole and slice before serving, preferably letting slices come to room temperature before serving.