Saturday, January 12, 2013

Seared Tuna Salad with Citrus Sriracha Salsa

Making a Fish-Class Recipe at Home

Credits: The recipe came from a Fabulous Fish Dishes cooking class at Sur la Table and the incredibly fresh tuna came from my favorite Seattle seafood store, Mutual Fish. (Check out some of the recipes posted on Mutual's website for other tasty ideas.)
One day after the cooking class (blog post) we were still focused on fish, ready to recreate our favorite dishes and become totally at ease with the preparation. The slower pace at home was comfortable, and it was fun to shop for ingredients and do our own prep, as well as repeat the steps in the actual cooking process. 

Step One: The Marinade
Whisk up a marinade of soy sauce, sesame oil, Sriracha, garlic and ginger; pour marinade into a ziploc bag with the fish steaks and marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours, turning occasionally. 

Step Two: The Salsa
While the tuna steaks marinated we worked on the salsa, mixing together smashed garlic, orange sections, lime juice, red onion, lots of Sriracha, fresh cilantro leaves and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Sectioning the oranges and cutting them into 1/2-inch chunks produced a lot of juice, and when added to the salsa it contributed to the sweet-sour citrusy tang. All by itself on a tasting spoon, the Sriracha-laced sauce was pretty peppy (okay, it was hot!), but the heat was tamed balanced later on by the buttery richness of the tuna. I'm sure there's some food chemistry explanation for this effect, but all I can share is the tasting experience.

Step Three: Cooking and Serving
Drain the tuna steaks and season each side with freshly ground pepper. Heat a 2-count of canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and wait for the the surface to shimmer. Here's Hilary watching for that shimmery action.

Add the steaks to the pan and sear, about 2 minutes per side for rare (my recommendation) or 3 minutes per side for medium. Use a fish spatula to gently turn the fish, keeping each piece whole in the process.

Remove the steaks to a cutting board with a well to catch any juices and tent lightly with foil to keep warm and finish cooking while you prepare the serving platter, or use individual plates.

Place salad greens on a large platter or individual plates to use as a bed for the tuna. With a very sharp knife, slice the tuna into 1/4-inch thick strips and arrange over the greens. Spoon the salsa on top of the tuna. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately. Note: just for fun and added crunch, we topped each serving with crispy fried wonton strips studded with sesame seeds.  

Was it good? The empty plates tell the story: we loved this Seared Tuna Salad and totally fell in love with the Citrus Sriracha Salsa. 

We had planned to serve the Seared Tuna Salad as an appetizer, and only purchased two steaks to serve three people. That amount could have provided lunch-sized servings for four. We managed to eat it all anyway, every bit of it, but did need a break before we worked on the entree later in the evening.

Seared Tuna Salad
recipe based on Sur la Table: Fabulous Fish Dishes
Serves 4

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp Sriracha sauce
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or crushed
fresh ginger, 4 thin slices, crushed

4 tuna steaks, each approx 6-oz and 2 inches thick
freshly ground pepper

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed to paste
3 large oranges, peeled and sectioned without membranes
Juice of 1 large lime (approx 4 TBS)
1/4 cup red onion, fine mince
Sriracha sauce to taste (1/4 tsp is a good start)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Salad greens, cleaned and dried
3 green onions, sliced thin
6 to 8 small wonton wrappers, cut in thin strips, fried in oil, salted & sprinkled with white sesame seeds


  1. What a fabulous tuna salad!! Your sear is perfect and the seasoning is awesome! Love this!

    1. Thanks MJ, and it tasted even better than it looks!


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