We’re craving coriander seared tuna, thanks to James Beard Award–winning chef Naomi Pomeroy’s fantastic new cookbook. Taste & Technique is a collection of Pomeroy’s favorite recipes and the step-by-step skills you’ll need to pull them off expertly at home. Dig into this informative book and up your dinner party game with dishes like these!
This is a classic example of three ingredients that work really well together. The recipe is so simple that every ingredient really needs to shine. I only make this dish during the winter, when citrus is at its best. When shopping for tuna, be specific: The term “sushi grade” isn’t regulated, so ask your fishmonger for #1 grade ahi (yellowfin or bigeye) tuna, which is the tuna industry’s highest ranking. Make sure it’s shiny, firm and lacking any fishy smell. Ask the fishmonger to cut a log about 4 inches long and 2 1⁄2 inches wide from the tuna loin. If this isn’t possible, you may need to cut smaller pieces from a larger steak, as described below.
- 1 1/2 pounds center-cut ahi tuna
- 1 fennel bulb
- 1 large or 2 small Valencia oranges
- 1 grapefruit
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon finely minced shallot
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon champagne vinegar
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
- 1/4 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons canola or grape-seed oil, for cooking the fish
For the fish
Trim the tuna as needed to remove any bloodline, sinew or skin. The tuna steak, viewed from the top, resembles a pear shape. Cut off the “pointy end” of the pear and then cut the remaining piece in half, so you end up with 3 same-size triangular pieces. Place the tuna on paper towels to dry while you assemble the salad.
Remove the green tops from the fennel bulb and save the fronds for the garnish. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise. Set a mandoline to create slices about as thick as a quarter. Slice each fennel half crosswise on the mandoline, stopping before you hit the base ends. Discard the ends.
Supreme the citrus fruits. Place the citrus segments in a strainer placed over a small bowl. Give the leftover “core” of each citrus a quick squeeze over the segments to collect any extra juice.
In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of the collected citrus juice, the cider vinegar, the shallot, 1⁄4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper, the olive oil and the champagne vinegar to make a vinaigrette. Set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the coriander, 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt, and the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper. Season the outer sides (the long sides of the log) of each piece of tuna with some of the spice mixture.
In a bowl, pour half of the vinaigrette on the fennel and the parsley and toss to coat. Taste and add an extra pinch of salt if needed. Set aside.
Heat a black steel pan over high heat until very hot. Add the canola oil and heat until the oil is rippling but not smoking. Add the tuna pieces spiced side down and cook, pressing once to ensure an even sear, for about 20 seconds on each side. Remove the tuna from the pan and set aside.
On each plate, arrange a portion of the fennel and parsley mixture and garnish with a fennel frond. Put a few segments of each type of citrus to the side of the fennel mixture and pour some of the remaining vinaigrette on top of the citrus. Slice each piece of tuna in half and place the halves, with the raw interior facing up, to the side of the salads. Serve immediately.