|Mustard Peppercorn Ahi
four 7 oz. Ahi tuna steaks
2 TBS Black peppercorns
1 TBS yellow mustard seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
8 oz mushrooms-any variety, but chanterelles would work best
1 Shallot-finely chopped
3 garlic cloves-peeled
1 lb. fresh spinach-stems removed, washed and dried
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3 lbs. roma tomatoes -- the ripest available
3 tbs red wine vinegar
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
picual olive or vegetable oil for sauteing
Place all the spices in a food processor or blender and grind to a fine consistency.
Cut the tops off the tomatoes and then cut the tomatoes into 4 pieces each. In a non-reactive bowl, place the tomatoes, vinegar and two of the garlic cloves, which you have crushed with the flat side of a knife, and add kosher salt to taste. Allow the tomatoes to marinate for at least 2 hours or as long as overnight.
When the tomatoes have marinated, place them in a food mill above a bowl and puree the tomatoes. Do not strain the liquid to remove the seeds. Adjust the seasonings and refrigerate, covered until ready to serve. This may be done up to two days in advance.
Clean the mushrooms and set aside until ready to cook.
To cook the tuna, heat a heavy skillet or cast iron pan over a high flame. Season both sides of each tuna steak with salt and then press into the spice mixture. Add about 2 tbs of cooking oil to the pan and sear over high heat on both sides. To serve rare, the total cooking time is about 4 minutes. Add two minutes total cooking time for medium rare.
While the tuna is cooking, heat another pan over high heat. Add 2 TB of oil and then add the mushrooms. Cook quickly to sear the mushrooms. Add the chopped shallot and the garlic clove, finely chopped, to the mushrooms. When the mushrooms have cooked about 3 minutes add the spinach and wilt. Adjust the seasonings.
Coat the bottom of 4 dinner plates with the tomato sauce. Place the spinach and mushroom mixture in the center. Cut each tuna steak in half and place on the spinach. Garnish with extra virgin olive oil.
Chef Ben Davis