Seared Tuna,Wasabi Whipped Cauliflower, Toasted Sesame Asparagus, Gochujang Hoisin Sauce


I stopped buying and eating canned tuna about four years ago. After learning how detrimental commercial tuna fishing is to dolphin and shark populations, I started buying it less and less. It’s just one of those things like veal and foie gras that I just don’t eat because of my moral convictions. Everyone has a different opinion of what’s cruel and what isn’t when it comes to eating animals and fish and in my experience morality has this tendency to propel people into extreme lifestyles. Some opt for a vegan diet, some raw only, some eat only cheese and eggs with their veggies and then some blindly eat whatever is in front of them without a second thought about the source of their vegetables or quality of life the animal had. I’m somewhere in the middle where I opt for a balanced diet heavily focused on local, farm fresh ingredients. So I started out buying the most expensive, dolphin safe canned tuna I could find but my guilt actually got worse not better. No matter what brand or store I sourced it from, canned tuna just made me feel really guilty but I grew up eating it and cravings are emotional, not logical. One evening I got home from work a bit late and so Amy had taken charge of dinner. She text me asking if tuna melts were okay with me and I excitedly replied yes of course! Then on my way home I started feeling guilty again. I walked in the back door, sat down at our kitchen island and Amy handed me a beautiful tuna melt. I noticed straight away that this wasn’t a canned tuna sandwich! She had seared up fresh Ahi Tuna and then constructed her melt with it. That was the most divine tuna melt I’ve ever had! We were instantly sold on fresh tuna because the flavor is not even comparable to it’s canned counterpart. Amy had not completely shared my guilt about canned tuna but taste alone was enough to get her to switch. I only use wild caught fresh tuna in my recipes now. It’s delicious in tuna salad, tossed into a tuna noodle casserole or I simply sear it. Is it more expensive than canned tuna? Of course it is and it should be. The price you pay at the grocery store may seem appealing and it’s meant to but if you do a little research you will discover, just as I did, that the true cost of cheap food is reprehensible. We just have tuna less often now and appreciate it so much more.

Ingredients: 

1 wild caught tuna steak

1 head cauliflower, core removed

1 bunch fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

1 heaping tablespoon Gochujang (Korean spicy paste found at Asian/Indian markets)

2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon Black Bean Chili sauce

1 tablespoon Sesame seeds

1/4 cup plain bread crumbs

2 tablespoons Toasted Sesame Seed Oil, divided

1 teaspoon Ginger powder

1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon Black pepper (I use fresh cracked black pepper)

1/2 teaspoon Wasabi powder

1/4 cup water

1 tab butter

2 tablespoons chopped Chinese Parsley (cilantro), garnish

Method:

In a mixing bowl combine the Gochujang, 1 tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil, Black Bean Chili sauce, Soy sauce, Hoisin sauce, Ginger powder, Garlic powder, and black pepper. Whisk until well combined, taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. In a non reactive covered dish, place the tuna steak and coat evenly with a bit of the sauce. Cover and set tuna in fridge and allow to marinate at least 30 minutes. Once tuna has marinaded, bring a pot of water to boil. Break the cored cauliflower into chunks and add to the boiling water with a good pinch of salt. Reduce slightly and boil cauliflower until tender. While the cauliflower is cooking, add the sauce to a small sauce pan along with 1/4 cup water and bring to a soft boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced about 20 minutes. Once the sauce has reduced and cauliflower is tender, heat a non stick skillet over medium high heat. Toss the sesame seeds and breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl and gently coat the marinaded tuna in the breadcrumbs. Once the skillet is hot, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of Toasted Sesame Seed oil and sear the tuna anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes per side depending on how rare like it. Set the seared tuna aside and allow to rest while prepping the cauliflower. Drain the tender cauliflower in a colander, return to pot and smash or puree the cauliflower until it is smooth. Stir in the butter and Wasabi powder, taste and adjust salt as needed. To plate: ladle a bit of sauce on a plate, followed by the Wasabi cauliflower, top with sliced tuna, and place asparagus wherever you like best. Garnish with Chinese Parsley and serve immediately.

 

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