July 1, 2011

Seared Tuna with Mango Salsa

When I lived in a condo with central air conditioning, I never gave much thought to turning on the oven in the middle of summer. But now that we’re in a house with no central A/C, I’ll do anything to keep my kitchen from heating up.

As a result, I rarely turn on my oven during the dog days of summer. Grilling is an obvious option a lot of the time. But there are those hot and humid days when I don’t even want to venture out onto my deck.

That’s when I love to quickly pan sear a beautiful piece of fish. I top it off with a sweet, spicy, cool and refreshing salsa. Before I know it I’m transported to a tropical island, lying on a beach chair, icy pink drink in hand.

One of my favorite combos is seared tuna with mango salsa. I cook the tuna so that it’s browned on the outside but beautifully rare in the middle. I top the tuna with a mixture of creamy avocado, sweet mango, fiery chili, sharp onion, bright basil and tangy lime juice. It's a light, healthy meal that feels just right for summer.

The beauty of salsa is that it is so versatile. You can adjust it to suit your tastes and make it with whatever you have on hand. For example:

If you don’t have:                               Use:

Mango                                                 Watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, papaya

Lime juice                                           Lemon juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice

Red onion                                            Yellow onion, shallots, scallions

Basil                                                    Cilantro, mint, parsley

Green chili                                           Red chili, hot sauce

Start by making your salsa. Mine had mango, avocado, red onion, green chili, basil and lime.

Chop up your ingredients, drizzle lime juice all over (this will help to keep your avocado green), and gently stir until combined. Set aside to give the flavors a chance to mingle.

 Now prepare your tuna. If you are going to cook it rare, like I did, be sure to buy sushi-grade fish.

Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper and sear for a few minutes in a preheated cast-iron pan.

Flip the fish and cook for a few more minutes. The nice thing about pan searing tuna is that you can see exactly how far it has cooked through.

Slice the tuna.

Top it with mango salsa, and serve!

Seared Tuna with Mango Salsa

Mango salsa:
1 ripe mango, chopped
1 ripe avocado, chopped
½ small red onion
1 small green chili, seeds discarded, chopped (use more less to taste)
Juice of 1 lime

2 6-ounce pieces of sushi-grade tuna
2 Tbsp. canola oil
Black pepper

1.      To make the salsa, combine the mango, avocado, onion and chili. Pour lime juice over, then stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside while you prepare the tuna.

2.       For the tuna, preheat a cast-iron pan or griddle. Season tuna with salt and pepper. Pour canola oil into the pan. Place fish in pan. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until done to your liking. Remove fish from pan and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

3.      Top fish with mango salsa and serve.

Serves 2

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