Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ahi Tuna Salad

I had the good fortune to discover Lefty's last weekend, it's on the main street in Nevada City. Everything I tasted was so good, and I especially enjoyed an Ahi tuna salad, cool on a hot summer day. Here's my version of an Ahi Tuna salad. It's especially nice because the tuna steaks only cook for 1-1/2 minutes per side, so the kitchen won't heat up.

1 quart water
8 oz whole wheat spaghetti noodles, broken into 3 or 4 inch pieces
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
4 green onions, including green tops, sliced into thin rounds
1 cup sugar snap peas, thinly sliced
8 mini carrots, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 jalapeno, sliced crosswise
2 cups mung bean sprouts, cut into 1-1/2 inch lengths
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup spinach, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons agave nectar (or sugar)
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 pound ahi tuna (about 2 steaks)
several grinds of sea salt
several grinds of pepper
several shakes of cayenne pepper
1 tsp olive oil
Directions: Heat water in a large stock pot until boiling. Add noodles and cook until al dente, about 8 or 9 minutes, or as indicated on the package.
Cut vegetables while noodles are cooking. I used a Cuisinart, so that everything was sliced the same width. A mandoline would work equally well, or simply use a knife. Put all of the cut vegetables into a large bowl. When the noodles are done cooking, drain them and rinse with cold water. Add them to the vegetable mixture. Mix the vinegar, sweetener, soy sauce, oils, and pepper flakes in a small container, then use most of the dressing to dress the salad, reserving about 1/4 of the dressing for pouring over the finished salad. Taste the salad, and add up to 1/4 teaspoon of salt, to taste. Mound 1/4 of the vegetable and noodle mixture on each of 4 plates.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat, and add the olive oil. Season the ahi tuna steaks with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Add the tuna to the skillet. Cook about 1-1/2 minutes per side, so that the tuna is rare. Remove immediately from the heat, and slice. Arrange several slices on top of each salad. Top with the remaining dressing.

Serves 4
Stealthy Cooking Tip: Here's another utterly stealthy way to add vegetables to a meal. The noodles seem to disguise the veggies, and the tuna adds an utterly delicious topping! When you dish the salad yourself, you can also control portion size. If you're concerned about getting too much dressing, use your hands to dish the salad, and let any extra dressing drain back into the mixing bowl.

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