It's no secret that tuna (Big Eye/Ahi/Yellow Tail, etc.) is my favorite fish in the whole world. Ahi is even what I used for my MasterChef audition, I love it rare (definitely no more than medium rare) with a great crust and a great side, and it's got so much flavor, and texture - I'd put it next to a real steak any day! Because it is more expensive than other fish options, I don't cook with it all the time, but for a nice weekend meal, you can't do better than this. I am going to Santa Fe next weekend, so I am on a Southwestern kick this week getting my taste buds ready for the amazing, spicy flavors there. It's definitely one of my favorite flavor profiles. Here, I tried to do something hearty for a warm side (aka MAN friendly "hash"/not a "salad") that would work with the thick tuna steak, and some avocado (which I would probably put on cereal) to cool it off (This basically means my fiance would have preferred regular steak, but we are trying to work some fish into our diets so this is as close to steak as you can get). Don't let the idea of working with Ahi/Big Eye intimidate you - a good, hot pan and a close eye will ensure awesome results. Sometimes, I cut a small piece off the side and test it before I go for the whole large pieces, to gauge the heat and oil temps. The rub is super cheap and easy - you might even have all the spices at home! Get searing after the jump!
Southwest Seared Tuna with Roasted Corn & Poblano "Hash" - (Serves 2-3)
You will need:
- 1 lb Big Eye/Ahi Tuna steak cut into two portions (depending on whose eating them) - these are large portions and you could potentially do 3 for ladies) (about 1-1 1/4 inches thick)
- 2 T olive oil
- 3 tsp fine kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground mustard
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp piment d'espelette
- 2 ears corn, roasted, kernels removed
- 2 poblano peppers, roasted, skins removed, seeds removed
- 3 T canola oil
- 1 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp rub (recipe above)
- 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese - grated
Start by prepping all the ingredients, because this comes together really fast once you have that done.
Make the rub by stirring all ingredients in a small bowl or shallow dish. Set aside. Under a broiler or on a gas flame stove, place corn and poblano peppers near direct heat until the peppers blister, and the corn ears start to blacken/roast. This takes about 10-15 minutes, but watch closely because it totally depends on your set up. Use kitchen tongs to rotate them so that they blacken or blister evenly on all sides. Remove corn kernels - set aside. Place peppers in a ziploc bag and seal - this will cause steam to occur which will make the skins come off in a snap - set aside. In a large saute pan, heat canola oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, stir frequently until they are translucent and just begin to brown (about 5-7 minutes). Remove peppers from bags, scrape off skins by rubbing them with your fingers and then cut open to remove seeds. You can also do this by washing the pepper strips with a little water. Chop the peppers into a dice. Return corn, peppers and onions to the same saute pan over medium heat. Stir (appx 5 minutes) until flavors have combined. Add salt, and rub and stir again. Adjust seasoning to taste. Transfer to a bowl. Add pumpkin seeds to the same pan, and toast over medium low heat until they begin to pop/turn brown and not green (about 5 minutes). Add the corn, poblanos and onion mixture back to the pumpkin seeds and stir to combine. Keep warm over low heat while you prepare the tuna.
Remove tuna from fridge, and cut into desired portions. Place each side in the rub until the tuna is completely coated. In a medium saute pan, heat olive oil until very hot/smoking (medium high/high heat). Add tuna, and sear about 1 minute on each of the sides. Set aside (this will continue to cook). Stir cheese into warm corn hash until it melts.
Place equal amounts of hash into shallow dishes or plates. Top with a tuna steak portion each. Add one slice of avocado on the top of each steak. Add dashes of Cholula to plate to garnish.