A healthy, bright and quick dinner. Julienning the veggies transforms them, changing their texture. The peas and blanched almonds create a nice crunch- complemented by the sweetness of the fennel and the acidity of the lemon. This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants in Paris- Pousse, Pousse in the 9eme which is owned by Lawrence Aboucaya. Her food was featured on Alain Ducasse's Plaza Athénée Summer Menu.
Makes 6 Servings
1 pound of Ahi Tuna (Sushi grade if you can find it)
Pinch of Sea Salt
1 small package of Sugar Snap Peas
1 head of Fennel
2 handfuls of blanched and peeled almonds- sliced thin or bought sliced
2 small yellow summer squash
1 small piece of fresh ginger- 1/4 cup minced for coating the fish
1 clove of garlic finely diced (remove the green inner sprout of the garlic)
2-3 lemons (1 zested)
1 tbls cracked black pepper- for coating the ahi
1/4 cup Olive Oil
Ginger-Soy-Lime Vinaigrette for marinating the Tuna
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
In a small bowl combine the finely diced shallot, ginger, pepper, soy sauce and lime juice. Use a hand immersion blender to mix (this is a nice restaurant trick that most restaurants use to get a perfect sauce). Whisking constantly slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Use half of this marinade for the Tuna and the other half reserve for later to season the cooked ahi or even season the vegetables. Set aside until ready to use and whisk dressing before serving.
Next make a lemon oil oil. Squeeze 1.5 lemons and slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of olive oil and a pinch of salt to make your own lemon olive oil. Add zest of 1/2 lemon.
Season the tuna with salt, pepper and let marinate in the sauce for a 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile with a sharp large knife get to work with your veggies. Remember just to cook the veggies for a total of 5-10 minutes. You want them crunchy! You could even eat them all raw if you wish. Cut the sharp ends off the snap peas and then julienne them into strips that resemble small match sticks. Repeat this process with the fennel, almonds and summer squash. Heat a sauce pan over medium heat and toast the almonds for a 2 minutes in a few tbls of olive oil until they release a gorgeous fragrant smell. Add the minced garlic and ginger and cook for a 2-3 minutes. Next add the fennel and cook for 4 minutes or so. Add a dash of the lemon olive oil and a tbls of lemon zest. Now add the squash and snap peas to the pan, and cook for a few minutes (not too long as you want the veggies to stay crunchy). Immediately remove from the heat to stop the cooking process. Add salt and a few nice squeezes of a lemon (if needed). Reserve.
Heat the same saute pan over high heat. Add the oil and when its is very hot sear the tuna on all sides, 30 secs per side to 1 minute per side. You want a raw center and browned outer edges. Add some lime juice to the pan to deglaze and quickly shake the pan and stir around the pan deposits. Quickly remove from the pan.
Make sure the veggie slaw is well seasoned. If needed add a nice few tbls of the lemon olive oil and a bit more salt to veggies. Slice the tuna into 1-2 inch long pieces and drizzle the reserved marinade over the tuna (there should be 1/2 left from the earlier marinade you made. If not make more). Serve the tuna on top of the slaw. Voila!