Recipe Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa at Home
When I think of tuna salad, I think of the soggy mayo-rich sandwiches of my youth: canned tuna on spongy white bread. Nothing wrong with them, especially with crunchy celery and spicy chives added, but summer inspires a fresher menu. Ina Garten, TV’s Barefoot Contessa to the rescue, with a tuna salad that features two summertime favorites: cool veggie salads and charcoal broiled steaks—in this case, tuna steaks—with a dab of Asian inspired dressing. Vive la difference!
|Grill to Your Idea of Perfection|
The original dressing was quite salty (as in 3 teaspoons, plus soy sauce), so I reduced the salt to bring out the lime and added a touch of agave for balance. You could substitute your own Asian dressing if you prefer, or any bottled Asian style dressing plus a squeeze of lime if you’re in a hurry. Happy summer!
serves 4 – 5
1 – 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
2 – 2.5 lbs. very fresh tuna steak, 1 inch thick
2½ tsp. lime zest
4½ tbsp. fresh lime juice
1½ tsp. wasabi powder
2 tsp. soy sauce
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
15 – 20 dashes Tabasco sauce
2 tsp. agave
¼ cup olive oil
2 large, firm, ripe Haas avocados
½ small red onion
2 - 3 scallions, white and green parts
good olive oil
salt and pepper
spring green mix (optional for serving)
Toast the sesame seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat, shaking frequently till fragrant, about 5 minutes or less.
Make the dressing: whisk together lime zest, lime juice, wasabi powder, salt, pepper, Tabasco, and agave until salt dissolves. Slowly whisk in olive oil.
Prepare the veggies: Cut avocado in half, remove pit and carefully ease flesh from skin. Place halves upside down on cutting board and dice into ¾ inch cubes. Sprinkle immediately with a little dressing or leftover lime juice to avoid discoloring. Cut the half red onion in half again and slice thinly. Mince white and green parts of scallions. Arrange the veggies in individual serving bowls or in stacks on a serving platter.
Start the charcoal for grilling. Coat tuna steaks with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. When coals are lightly covered with ash, grill steaks (high heat) to desired doneness: 2½ minutes per side for rare, 3 minutes per side for medium, and 3 ½ - 4 minutes per side for well done. See indoor method for cooking tuna steaks below.*
Cool tuna steaks slightly, and cut into large bite sized chunks. Pile up on serving platter or bowl.
Diners can serve themselves by filling their bowls in layers. First layer is avocado and onion, second is tuna and scallions and top layer is dressing. This salad also looks attractive, and is more healthful, atop a bed of spring greens.