Summer salads: 'Asian tuna salad'
This simple, yet satisfying salad pairs citrus with fresh tuna and an Asian-inspired dressing.
Ingredients (makes four entrée salads or six appetizer salads):
Greens: A medium, strong blend type blend of greens such as baby kale, spinach, chard, arugula and/or radicchio. A generous handful per guest, plus one more for the salad bowl.
1 lb. fresh tuna: Cube into ½ to ¾ inch thick pieces appetizer size. Season with black pepper and toss with sesame seeds.
1 - 2 oranges: Select a sweet variety, such as tangerines, mandarins, satsumas, blood oranges, or navel oranges. Avoid bitter types, such as sevillia
1 tbsp. fresh ginger: peeled, chopped and crushed in garlic press
2 cloves of garlic: crushed
vinegar: quality rice vinegar, champagne vinegar, or Sherry vinegar
soy sauce: low sodium is preferable
Segment oranges as explained below:
- Using a small serrated knife cut the top and bottom of the orange. On a cutting board, sit the orange up and with the knife cut off the peel of the orange following its curvature making sure no white part of the pith is left. Lay the orange on its side and gently hold it with the tips of your fingers so you can cut each segment by inserting the blade along the membrane of a segment till you reach the center part and push out the flesh, scalloping it on the cutting board. Continue by rolling orange until you have extracted all the segments.
- Using your hands, squeeze the juice from what is left of the orange into a bowl.
- Toss greens in a bit of olive oil to coat leaves
- In a hot cast iron skillet or thick bottom pan that has been rubbed with olive oil, sear the tuna and reduce flame to low.
- Add a bit more olive oil, crushed garlic and crushed ginger juice. Toss and continue cooking tuna until desired degree of doneness. Medium rare is usually ideal for texture and taste.
- Pull the pan off of the heat. Let it cool 2 or 3 minutes, mix in a small quantity of sesame oil and reserve.
- For dressing, mix in the following ration to desired volume: 1 tablespoon of vinegar and ½ teaspoon of soy sauce. Taste and adjust ratio.If it is too pungent, add a teaspoon of olive oil per serving of dressing.
- For each handful of salad, mix in about 1 tablespoon of the orange juice from segmenting.
- Progressively add dressing to coat all leaves but do not overdress, as the salad will become soggy.
- Toss in tuna.
- Plate and garnish with orange segments.
*Note: You can substitute sea scallop for tuna. Choose medium size scallops (15-20 per pound).
Jean-Mark Sens grew up in France and Belgium and has been living in the Southern United States of America for the past 25 years, except for a short stint in the deep East of Maine, which brought him back to New Orleans. He has taught culinary arts at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, Eastern Maine Community College and for Mississippi University for Women on the Gulf Coast. He has published a collection of poetry, Appetite, with Red Hen Press, and is now working on Leaves of Greens: Mostly Leafy Salads, a book on the arts and technique of composing salads.