Monday, February 22, 2010

Meatless Monday - Tuna with Asian Dipping Sauce

Seared tuna w/ dipping sauce

A few months ago, I happened upon a show by this guy one lazy Sunday morning. He was doing a show about ponzu soy sauce (and bacon, but as it is Meatless Monday, no bacon talk today). I'd seen ponzu in the grocery stores right there next to all the soy sauces, and the obligatory bottle on each table at sushi restaurants, but I never found an occasion to try it. However, the episode had some really yummy sounding recipes that I frantically scribbled on the backs of some magazine subscription cards laying nearby. After I finally bought a bottle, I fell in love at first taste with ponzu. It's salty and tangy and all around delicious. It just tastes fresher and more interesting than regular soy sauce.

I created this recipe because it showcases how well ponzu works in a variety of ways. One, as a tangy compliment to meaty seared tuna, and two, as a bright dressing that works perfectly with crisp greens.

Portions below will serve 2

2 1-inch thick sashimi grade tuna steaks
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Dipping Sauce/Dressing:
1/3 cup ponzu soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger (fresh ginger would also be lovely)
1 scallion, very thinly sliced

4 cups mixed greens for salad

Let tuna come to room temperature, about 15 minutes before you are ready to cook. In a small bowl, combine fennel seeds, cumin, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle 1/2 of the mixture on each tuna steak, pressing gently to adhere.

Heat oil in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat. When hot, add tuna steaks and cook to your preferred doneness. If you are like me, that's about 1 minute per side for rare.

Combine all dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle about 2 Tablespoons of sauce over greens and toss to combine. Divide greens evenly between 2 plates and top each with a tuna steak. Serve with remaining sauce on the side for dipping the tuna.

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