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:
(serves 2)

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

Asian Slaw:
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.


Unknown said...

I love seared ahi tuna! I've made it before at home with a different kind of rub so I'll definitely be trying yours. I like the Asian slaw as well. Where do you get your tuna? I've gotten mine at AJ's but it tends to be pretty pricey there.

Anonymous said...

This is such a coincidence on so many levels. First, I just found Natalie MacLean's site this week as well. I signed up for her newsletter, as well as signing up my husband and good friend. :)

Secondly, seared ahi is my husband's favorite dish, and probably my second favorite! We made it the night he proposed to me. :) I will have to try it with your Asian Cabbage Slaw.

What SB did you serve with it? I have been drinking some of the New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs this week. So refreshing for the 110+ temps we are having.


Kirsten said...

Hi Christine! I got it @ Sprouts - the one on Gilbert Rd & Brown. It was lovely, and about half the price of AJ's. I think you live near me in the E. Valley, right?

Hi Maureen - I swear, we are long-lost friends. :)

I have been TOTALLY into Sauv Blancs this spring/summer, and esp with the heat this past week. I served it with a Marq Sauvignon Blanc, but I think any non-oaked Sauv Blanc would be good, or a non-oaked Chard?

I ADORE seared ahi, but have never tried it at home. After today, I will make it a LOT more, it was so easy. :)

Kirsten said...

Maureen - p.s. I adore Nat MacLean's site, she is such a refreshing "wine person", right?

Anonymous said...

I am still trying to learn my way around wines and wine pairing so the link you shared should be just perfect :) thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

Yes I do! I live far east off of Signal Butte and Brown. When I do go to Sprouts, I usually make it to the one off of Higley and Southern. I'll have to check for the ahi next time I am there. Thanks!

Lis said...

This is a dinner I could eat 6 nights of the week. LURVE seared tuna and that Asian slaw looks heavenly! If I can find a good piece of tuna this week, I think you've given me one night's dinner plans!


Anonymous said...

This sounds--and looks--delicious, Kirsten. The slaw also sounds like it could work with so many other things--seared or grilled chicken breasts, for instance. Regarding oils with high smoke points so they don't burn, I tend to go with canola oil. Nice neutral flavor with some of the health benefits of olive oil. Grapeseed oil also works for the same reasons.

Peabody said...

I love that site, very helpful. As usual, you did a lovely job with your fish.

Kirsten said...

Hi Trini! The site is SO fun and helpful. Thanks for your comment. :)

Christine - I also go to that Sprouts - I am off Southern between Gilbert and Val Vista, so they both are about the same distance. The fish has been consistently good and wayyy better price than AJ's.

Hi Lis!! I LOVE tuna too. I hope you can find a good piece this week.

Hey Terry, thanks! I think it would go with other things nicely. Maybe even a Asian-style beef? Re: oil, good tips. I usually use olive oil for everything, but here used canola oil for the higher smoke point.

Thanks Peabody!

janelle said...

Mmmm, very cool. I need to go check out the wine pairing with food tool...

Efriends... I like that.

Kelly-Jane said...

Looks lovely, pretty healthy too :)

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