Friday, December 22, 2017

Seared Tuna with Avocado, Pineapple and Pomegranate Salsa

Last Year's Post: Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds
Two Years Ago:  Italian Grilled Seafood Salad

I was reading a menu on a new restaurant's website and noticed an entree listed as "tuna with avocado, pineapple and pomegranate".  I thought it sounded pretty interesting and immediately had a mental image of seared sliced tuna with the avocado, pineapple and pomegranate in the form of a salsa.  I have no idea if that's how the restaurant makes it, but that's what I did, and was happy with the result.

The salsa is a fairly unusual combination of creamy avocado with the sweetness of the pineapple and pomegranate seeds.  The jalapeno and cilantro balance the sweetness and the whole thing contrasts well with the rich, meaty tuna.  It's a great and healthy entree when pomegranates are in season, although I read somewhere that you can buy frozen pomegranate seeds at Whole Foods year-round.

Everyone has their own opinion about how well tuna should be cooked.  I happened to be sitting next to an avid fisherman from Vermont at dinner one night when I ordered tuna.  He immediately said "please, please, order it rare or medium rare" so that's what I did, and I've never looked back.  Tuna can tend to dry out if it's cooked to medium or more (unless it's poached) but it's your tuna and your dinner so cook it however you want.  The instructions below will result in a warm deep pink center - just cook it longer or let it rest after cooking if you want it done more.  It's easy to see how much a tuna steak is cooked just by looking at the side of it - you can see the meat turn from red to beige as it cooks from the bottom up.

I served this entree with brown rice, but white rice or couscous or potatoes would work equally well.  Now I think I need to go to the restaurant to try their version.

 Seared Tuna with Avocado, Pineapple and Pomegranate Salsa
Serves 4

4 (5-6 ounce) tuna steaks
Salt and pepper
Seafood seasoning or blackening seasoning (optional)
2 teaspoons peanut oil (or other high-heat oil)
1/3 cup red onion, diced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 small jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, diced
½ cup fresh pineapple, cut into small cubes
1 avocado, cut into small cubes
Juice of one lime
½ teaspoon salt
Seeds (arils) from one pomegranate

Preheat a griddle, grill or non-stick pan over high heat. 

While the griddle preheats, place the onion, cilantro, jalapeno, pineapple, avocado, lime, salt and pomegranate seeds in a bowl.  Toss to combine well.

Pat the tuna steaks dry, then season with salt and pepper and the seasoning blend of your choice (optional).  When the griddle, grill or pan is very hot, quickly add the peanut oil and then the tuna steaks.  Sear without moving the steaks until they release from the surface and are golden brown, 1-2 minutes.  Flip and sear the other side for an additional 1-2 minutes, then remove.  At this point, you can either slice the tuna steaks or let them rest.  The longer you let them rest, the more they will continue to cook on the inside.

 Slice the tuna into ½” slices and serve topped with the salsa.

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