Seared Black Pepper Crusted Tuna with Fennel and Grapefruit Salad

16 May

Although this dish felt and tasted upscale and elegant, it was about as easy as it gets.  Mostly, you just have to toss together a few ingredients and know how to work a microwave timer.  Zak wasn’t madly in love with the salad because he wasn’t wild about the licorice flavor of the fennel, but I absolutely adored the way the crunch of the fennel and onion worked against the creaminess of the tuna.  The infused olive oil was a common tread running through the entire dish that really sewed the flavors together and made this dish shine.

Seared Black Pepper Crusted Tuna with Fennel and Grapefruit Salad

Seared Black Pepper Crusted Tuna:

1/4 cup fennel infused olive oil (see below)

1 lb. tuna steaks, cut into 2 fillets, room temperature

1/4 cup freshly cracked black pepper, coarsely ground

A few pinches fennel fronds, for garnish

Place freshly cracked black pepper onto a plate and coat tuna with freshly cracked black pepper, using your hands to press the pepper into the flesh of the fish.

In a 10″ cast iron skillet, heat fennel infused olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add tuna steaks and sear roughly 1 minute per side.  This results in tuna that is “black and blue” or almost completely rare.  If you want it more cooked, increase cooking time accordingly.

Cut into thin slices against the grain and serve.

Fennel Infused Olive Oil:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fennel fronds, loosely packed

2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled

1/4 lemon

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

Heat all ingredients over very low heat for about an hour.  Strain and set aside.

Fennel and Grapefruit Salad:

1/4 cup fennel infused olive oil

1 lemon, juiced

2 bulbs fennel, core removed, very thinly sliced (1/8″ setting on a mandolin)

1/4 cup fennel fronds, finely chopped

1/2 cup red onion, very thinly sliced (1/8″ setting on a mandolin)

1 grapefruit, halved

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Whisk together fennel infused olive oil and lemon juice.  Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Remove the flesh of the grapefruit from the membranes using a paring knife.  Squeeze the juice into the infused olive oil and lemon mixture.  Combine grapefruit, fennel, red onion, and dill fronds.

Toss together vegetables/fruits and dressing.

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