Crusted Ahi Tuna with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
I remember spending a few days with my wife Eileen in Porto Fino in Italy, which is simply beautiful. One day, we went to a big seaside restaurant called Il Delfino, arriving about 11 in the morning and staying through the early afternoon. We sat on the terrace, with the water glinting blue and silver and the fishing boats bobbing on the horizon, and ordered raw tuna with pomegranates, lemon, and basil. It’s that memory that inspired me to create this dish. It’s a great way to serve one of my all-time favorites, raw ahi tuna, but be sure to buy the freshest, best fish you can. Look for bright color, firm flesh, and no odor except a faint whiff of the sea.
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
Make Ahead RecipeYes
OccasionCooking for a date, Formal Dinner Party
Recipe Coursecold appetizer
Dietary Considerationcold appetizer
Equipmentmortar and pestle
- 1/2 cup crushed coriander seed
- ½ cup fennel seed
- 1/3 cup cracked black peppercorns
- 1/3 cup pink peppercorns (optional)
- Two 8-ounce log-shaped pieces sushi-grade #1 ahi or bluefin tuna
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup fresh or store-bought pomegranate juice
- 1/3 cup high-quality sherry vinegar
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Sea salt or Cyprus Black Salt
- Pomegranate seeds, for garnish, optional
- 4 lime wedges, for garnish
In a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, crush the coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and peppercorns. Transfer to a shallow bowl and stir to mix.
Lightly season the tuna pieces with salt. Roll each log in the crushed seed mixture until completely covered, including the ends.
Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: in a blender, mix together the pomegranate juice, vinegar, lime juice, shallot, and mustard. Slowly blend in the olive oil until incorporated. Add the basil and chives.
Slice the tuna logs into 1/2-inch-thick shingles and layer them on each of 4 plates. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and garnish with sea salt and cracked pepper and, if desired, pomegranate seeds. Garnish each plate with a lime wedge and serve.
2007 Rick Tramonto