Local Food and Seasonal Ingredients

Refined Chef Seared Ahi Tuna

By Seth Fera-Schanes

New York City is a food town.  Individuals can and do eat out for every meal of the day, everyday of the week.  The culinary range is diverse with globally influenced restaurants and dishes.  The price ranges are equally varied from a $10 Pad Thai that can last for two meals up to a $600 dining event at some of the city’s most upscale establishments.

What if you want to have an upscale dining experience but can’t justify the price?  One option is to put together a classy meal at home.  Many residents in the city would have concerns about undertaking big home cooking projects due to the size of their kitchens.  However, if you have the right recipe and tools, you can make this work.

Included below is a recipe for a Pepper Crusted Ahi Tuna Steak with Shisho Leaves and a Cape Gooseberry Puree.  The key to this dish is simplicity.  With a limited ingredient list and a few steps for preparation, you will find this is a great meal to make in the comfort of your New York City apartment.

For any fish dish, especially with raw or seared preparation, fresh ingredients are crucial.  There are fish counters and markets around the city but make sure you form a relationship with your local fishmonger.  I like to go to The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market.  They have great quality and will offer suggestions on types of fish to buy and suggestions on what to make.  They also have a great oyster and soup selection so after you make your purchase you can have a nice snack.

Pepper Crusted Seared Ahi Tuna Steak with Shisho Leaf and Cape Gooseberry Puree

Pepper Crusted Seared Ahi Tuna Steak with Shisho Leaf and Cape Gooseberry Puree

Serving size: 2
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 3 minutes

1/3 lb – Sushi grade Ahi (for 2 person appetizer size. 1/2 lb. for 2 person meal)
2-4 Shiso leaves
1/2 pint Cape Gooseberries – leafy part removed (also called husk cherries or ground cherries)
Olive oil
In a pot of boiling water, add shucked Cape Gooseberries and cook for 3 minutes. Remove immediately and run under cold water. Add to blender (or use emersion blender) and blend until smooth. Place in refrigerator and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Ahi – Add a little salt to top and bottom of fish. Add a good amount of freshly cracked pepper to all sides.

In a pan over medium-high heat, add a little olive oil. Allow to heat up but do not smoke the oil. Carefully add the Ahi by sliding across the bottom of the pan so it doesn’t stick. Cook for 15-30 seconds and flip over. Cook for additional 15-30 seconds. Repeat cooking for all sides.

You can gauge the doneness of the Ahi as it changes color. You can to see a small ring of white filling in toward the center of the fish. Ahi is served rare so do not cook too long.

When done, quickly remove from pan and place on cutting board to rest for 1 minute.

With a very sharp knife, slice against the grain into 1/4 inch slices.

To plate:
Add 1-2 Shiso leaves per plate. Top with a few slices of seared Ahi and small amount of Gooseberry puree (about 1 tsp.)

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