Saturday, March 20, 2010


serves four

For the Dressing
1/2 cup Asian fish sauce
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
4 tablespoons sesame paste (tahini)
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 2-inch piece fresh gingerroot
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed, tough outer leaves removed, roughly chopped
1 large clove garlic
1/2 jalapeno chile with seeds and membranes removed, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons each chopped basil and cilantro leaves + coarsely chopped leaves to garnish

For the Salad
2 cups arugula, watercress, or field greens, chilled
1 small head frisee or chicory, broken into bites, chilled
1/3 pound sugar-snap peas, strings removed and blanched
8 cherry tomatoes, split
4 slices thick-sliced bacon, cut cross-wise into 1-inch pieces, cooked until crisp and blotted on paper towels
1 yellow bell pepper with seeds and membranes removed, cut thinly into lengthwise slices
4 tablespoons each black and white sesame seeds
1-1 1/4 pounds sushi-grade tuna steaks, about 1 1/4-inches thick
salt and freshly ground black pepper
oil to brush pan
2 scallions, including most of green parts, thinly sliced
1 hard cooked egg, finely chopped

Make the dressing: Combine the dressing ingredients in the jar of an electric blender and puree until smooth. Pour through a fine strainer into a clean bowl, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible. Set aside.

Make the salad: Combine the lettuces, blanched sugar-snap peas, tomatoes, bacon, and sliced pepper in a large bowl.

Pour the sesame seeds into a flat dish. Season the tuna with salt and pepper and press into the seeds, covering all sides. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and brush it with oil. Saute the tuna on both sides until medium-rare, turning once, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.

Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables, toss, and blend well. Divide the salad among 4 plates. Slice the tuna across the grain into 1/2-inch slices and divide among the plates. Sprinkle on the scallions, chopped basil, cilantro, and hard-cooked egg and serve.

bacon recipe courtesy of: Seduced by Bacon: Recipes & Lore About America's Favorite Indulgence by Joanna Pruess with Bob Lape. Guilford, Connecticut: The Lyons Press, 2006, page 68

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