seared tuna with pear-potato salad and arugula

Well, I haven’t done a procrasto-post in awhile, but with a living room full of boxes that need to be sorted through (ah, moving!) I’m feeling extra inspired. I’ll have to be quick, though, since JM is in the other room washing guilty, which makes me feel dishes.

My inability to follow directions makes this a somewhat original recipe, but really, I outright stole it from Marcus Samuelsson. But what is it they say? Steal from the best, improvise the rest. Or something like that. In any case, this dish was a little labor-intensive on the front end, but totally easy to assemble after everything chilled in the fridge for a few hours. On that note, I recommend this recipe if you’re going to pick someone up from the airport around dinner time and know they’ll be ravenous when they get home.

Seared Tuna with Pear-Potato Salad and Arugula
(serves two)

Tuna Ingredients:
-1 sashimi-grade tuna steak
-salt and pepper
-1 tbs olive oil

Vinaigrette Ingredients:
-3-4 tbs olive oil
-1 tbs whole-grain Dijon mustard
-juice of 1/2 lemon
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp honey or agave nectar

Pear-potato Salad Ingredients:
-2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-1 inch cubes
-1 or 2 large pears, peeled and cut into 1/2-1 inch cubes
-1/2 onion, diced
-1 clove of garlic, chopped
-2 to 3 tbs of slivered almonds
-1/2 tsp cumin powder
-1-2 tbs olive oil
-salt and pepper
-1-2 cups of arugula

(I’m going to describe the process here as though you were planning to eat immediately, but as I said above it also works great if you make everything ahead of time, chill it for a few hours in the fridge, and then assemble as a cold salad later.)

Let’s start with the pear-potato salad: sauté the garlic and onion in the olive oil over medium heat, until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add your potatoes and salt and pepper them a little bit. Sauté them for about 10 minutes or so, until they’re pretty brown, stirring often so they don’t burn. Now add your pears, almonds, and cumin, mixing in with the potatoes. You’ll want to sauté this for close to 10 minutes, but it’s really about the potatoes being done: lance one of them after about 5 minutes, and you’ll get some idea of how much longer they need. You don’t want them soft like home fries — they should still have a bit of firmness to them so they can be tossed together with the arugula and still maintain their potato-tude — but they should be just done. Once they are done, put them aside to cool, but preferably not in a bowl that conducts heat so well that it actually makes your fingers scream expletives without you even needing to open your mouth.

Is your pan still hot? Good. If your name is Lara and you don’t eat fish (well, your name doesn’t have to be Lara — but it’s a pretty name for a non-fishatarian, don’t you think?), this is where you would sauté a steak-sized block of tofu or seitan in a little red wine or balsamic vinegar. But if your name is Mom, rinse off your tuna steak, sprinkle a little salt and pepper on it, and sauté each side until lightly browned. The inside will still be a bit raw, though, which not only adds lovely color to this salad but also tastes amazing.

Now mix your vinaigrette: oil, lemon juice, mustard, honey (or agave), and a healthy pinch of salt can all get mixed right up. Put a handful of arugula in a large bowl and pour about two-thirds of the vinaigrette over the top, mixing well. Now add as much of the pear-potato salad as you want (the leftovers keep really well until the next day) and mix again, and then put it on your plates. Cut the tuna into thick slices and place on top of the salad, drizzling the rest of the vinaigrette over the top.

You can thank me later. For now, just eat your greens and try not to get mustard on your chin.

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