seared tuna with tomato lemon salsa

     Here is the perfect summer supper... no stove, no oven needed. Simply a grill, outside or in. Farm stand tomatoes are plentiful and several food stores and fish markets stock ahi tuna.
      If you are unfamiliar with this fish, I urge you to become fast friends, immediately! This is one of the mildest, most versatile types of fish. It is very popular served raw for sushi or tuna tataki, seared as a steak and even used in grilled fish tacos. It is firm, not fishy in taste and reasonably priced. 
     This recipe is one of my family's favorites and a frequent menu staple throughout the summer months when tomatoes are at their peak! Try using a combination of colors or sizes of tomatoes, such as red, orange, yellow or purple heirloom for a more vibrant presentation.
     My family eats so much of the tomato salsa, I have to double this part of the recipe. They will eat it on salad for several days afterward, if any remains. They also like it with tortilla chips.  
     The vinaigrette recipe can be used to marinate chicken breasts, or can be added to some ground turkey burgers jazzed up with shallots and goat cheese. You could add a little soy and orange juice to make a marinade for skirt steak for fajitas or for other tougher cuts that need breaking down, like flank or flat iron, or pork tenderloin. It would also be good to flavor some hamburgers and makes a lovely salad dressing on its own.
Lemon Vinaigrette and Marinade:
1/2 cup lemon juice, approx. 3 lemons
2 T. honey
zest of 3 lemons
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 cup evoo (extra virgin olive oil)
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
Whisk together all ingredients in small bowl or shake up in mason jar w/ tight fitting lid. Set aside. Any remaining dressing can be stored in refrigerator. Olive oil will solidify, so bring to room temperature before serving.
Grilled Tuna:
4 Tuna steaks
few fresh oregano leaves
1/2 c. lemon vinaigrette
Take 1/2 cup of the lemon vinaigrette and add some fresh oregano leaves. Pour over tuna steaks in a shallow, non-metal baking dish or in gallon-sized plastic zipper bag set into a bowl. Make sure tuna is well coated with marinade. Set into refrigerator for around 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the tomato salsa.
After thirty minutes or so, heat grill on high heat. Remove tuna from dish or bag, discarding marinade. Grill on high heat, approximately 2 minutes on each side. Meat will be fairly rare on inside. For medium rare, grill 3 minutes.  
Forget about cooking it well done... It will NOT be the same. The longer you grill it, the stronger the fishy tastes will be. The oils in this thick cut do that to the flavor. When consuming it raw, the flavor is very sweet. That is what we're trying to retain.
Remember, this blog is about being BRAVE in the kitchen, so try it a little rarer than you normally would.
Tomato Salsa
6 large tomatoes, diced.
1 cup lemon vinaigrette
a few more leaves of fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste
Mix together, add salt and lots of pepper. Set aside.
Assembly Instructions:
Baby Greens of choice... First and foremost rule: NO iceberg! (I'm working on a logo with a red circle and line through a head of iceberg lettuce! Haha.) No, really. I'm not joking... No iceberg. It has absolutely no food value.
Try something dark and full of nutrients... the darker the leaf, the better it is for you.  If you are afraid of dark, leafy things, try a pre-packaged blend from the store. They are a little more expensive, but get something on sale and don't waste it. If it isn't your favorite, try something new the next time around.
Here is a list of possible candidates for your salad makeover:
Arugula (also known as Rocket)
Red Leaf, oak leaf
Romaine (hey, you've heard of that!)
Spinach (my fave)
Baby Kale
Place salad greens on plates. Top with grilled Tuna steaks. You can sliced them first, if you wish. This displays the pretty pink insides of the tuna, a beautiful contrast to the green leaves and the brightly colored red, orange or yellow tomatoes.
Spoon the lovely Tomato Salsa over the whole thing. Stand back and admire your creation, now... because once everyone tastes it, it will disappear in a flash.
Serve with crusty bread or bruschetta you've sliced, grilled and rubbed with a raw clove of garlic... You'll need it to mop up ever little drop of this lovely vinaigrette! Buon Appetito, Y'all!


  1. This looks amazing! Can I use it with chicken? You are such a kitchen diva!

  2. I'm back. :) I made this for dinner and substituted talapia (YOU told us to be brave) and it was delicious! Plus I opened the freezer and guess what I had! Skinny Cow mint ice cream sandwiches! My husband thinks you are wonderful!

  3. How did you cook your tilapia? Did you grill it or pan sear? Was there an adjustment on marinade time? Tilapia is very soft and thinner than a piece of tuna.
    I really think chicken would work with this recipe if you have an aversion to fish. Congratulations on your successful conversion!