Recipe: Tuna, Avocado and Cherry tomatoes, Oh My!

This past weekend was perfectly planned so that I could cook a meal for Maria, the female love of my HK life. I decided to start off with a tuna tartare appetizer which, really is a healthier and more luxurious spin-off from Chef Humberto Guallpa’s original recipe from New York. I usually have very few dietary restrictions but, I limit my lactose usage because I am lactose intolerant, so those of you concerned, there is no lactose in this dish. If you are allergic to spicy foods, like Maria, you are also safe since I took out the spicy sweet chili sauce in the original recipe. If you are gluten-free, this plate can easily be so if you take away the whole wheat pita crisps.
Maria tried it and is still asking for more, so it has been tested and approved by a few lucky ones. It is quite a refreshing dish, more suitable in warmer weathers but enjoyable year round. I hope you will like it too.

Pan-Seared Tuna and Tuna Tartare Over An Avocado, Cherry Tomato and Cilantro Salad 
Gluten-free and Lactose-Free Version

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Ingredients: Serves 2                                                                      Equipment:

120 g                Sushi grade raw tuna                                                                  2 small mixing bowls
1 Tbsp              Diced spring onion (Scallion) or chives                               1 cutting board and knife
1 Tbsp              Minced pickled ginger                                                               2 mixing spoons
1 Small             Diced Avocado (1cm)                                                                2 serving plates
3 – 4 Small      Grape tomatoes cut into quarters                                           1 small searing pan
3/4 tsp             Sea Salt (separated into 3 portions, 1/4 tsp each)
3/4 tsp             Ground Black Pepper (separated into 3 portions, 1/4 tsp each)
5 Leaves           Cilantro (Coriander) finely chopped
6 Leaves           Cilantro whole
1 tsp                  Lemon Juice
1 tsp                  Sesame oil
1 tsp                  Cooking oil (preferably grape-seed oil or one with an adequate smoke point)
1 Small             Whole Wheat Pita (Omit for gluten-free)

Method:
1.  Place 2 plates in the refrigerator to cool.
2.  In a mixing bowl, mix in diced scallions or chives, sesame oil and minced pickled ginger with 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of ground black pepper.
3.  Cut the tuna in half and place the other 1/2 in the fridge for later.
4.  Dice the tuna into 1 cm dices and mix it into the same mixing bowl as the scallions and ginger and place bowl in the fridge covered.
5.  In another mixing bowl place the quartered cherry tomatoes with 1/4 tsp of salt and pepper, avocado, lemon juice and finely chopped cilantro.
6.  Take out the whole piece of tuna and season each side with the rest of the salt and pepper.
7.  Place a small searing pan on the stove and heat the pan with medium heat.
8.  Sear the seasoned tuna for about 2 minutes on each side until medium rare. Slice the tuna on a clean cutting board to 1/2 cm thick exposing the beautiful flesh.
9.  Cut whole wheat pita bread into wedges and toast until golden brown and crispy.
10.  On the cold plates, plate the avocado salad, tuna tartare and seared tuna according to your liking.
11.  Garnish with whole cilantro leaves and pita crisps, then serve as a cold appetizer.
– The sphere in the middle is avocado wrapped with tuna tartare for a dramatic effect.

With Pita Crisps

Pseudo Nutrient Analysis: Methylmercury is a controversial item usually found in tuna that can harm the body, but this fish is also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that can decrease the chances of cardiovascular disease and help normalize infant growth and development. Pregnant women and people with a weakened immune system should avoid eating raw foods. Avocado although is relatively high in fat compared to other fruits, it is packed with carotenoids that benefit the eyes, it also has oleic acid that may actually help you feel fuller faster to even cause weight loss and it contains folate and may help slow digestion since it’s high in monounsaturated fats along with fiber. Other aspects of this dish like tomatoes are high in lutein, which may decrease chances of prostate cancer and cilantro may contribute to the chelation of heavy metals from the body. You can also try using another fish like yellowtail or salmon for lower mercury levels.

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