There is the classic Salade Nicoise with its lovely composition of tuna, tomatoes, sliced eggs, olives, potatoes, haricots verts and anchovies--or variations thereof. The tuna is generally canned, and there is very little in the way of lettuce leaves. Then, there is the more updated trend, the Ahi Tuna Salad, with its delicate strips of seared fresh ahi tuna, arranged in overlapping slices and serve on a bed of lettuce often with a wasabi-soy- mustard drizzle or a honey ginger vinaigrette. Combine the best of both salads, add a rainbow of color and crunch, and you have a hearty, healthful main meal dish with the unusual twist of fresh tuna served, not in slices, but rather in cubes to get the sear on all sides. If your New Year's resolution is to eat healthy and somewhat preservative-free, the Over The Rainbow Cubed Ahi Tuna Salad is your creative and crunchy kick starter in a salad bowl!
Over the Rainbow Cubed Ahi Tuna Salad
- 4-6 oz fresh Ahi Tuna steak, carefully cut in 1-inch cubes
- Sea salt and course ground pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 ripe avocado, cubed
- ½ small red onion, sliced paper thin
- ½ cup red pepper, diced
- ½ cup yellow or orange pepper, diced
- 4 medium tomatillos, quartered
- 3-4 cups arugula (or Mesclun or Spring Mix)
- ½ cup no shell pepitas (pumpkin seeds), roasted and salted (*See Jan's notes)
- ½ cup wasabi green peas*
- ½ cup Marcona almonds* (or blanched and toasted raw almonds)
- ½ cup olive, avocado or grape seed oil (for dressing)
- ⅓ cup rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar (for dressing)
- 2 tablespoons orange juice (for dressing)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice (for dressing)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (for dressing)
- 1 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced (optional) (for dressing)
- 1 garlic clove, minced (for dressing)
- Dash of hot sauce (for dressing)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt (for dressing)
- 1 tablespoon honey (for dressing)
- If using raw almonds instead of marcona almonds, blanch almonds in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain and remove skins. Pat dry.
- In a small skillet over medium high heat, roast almonds in enough oil just to coat the almonds until lightly toasted, about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with a little salt. Set aside.
- Brush the tuna steak with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and press into steak.
- Cut steak into one inch cubes.
- Heat oil in skillet and cook cubes on high heat until seared on all sides (about 2 minutes) and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine cherry tomatoes, avocado, red onion, red pepper and yellow pepper, tomatillos, arugula or greens, pepitas and wasabi peas, almonds and tuna cubes.
- In a food processor, blender or with a whisk, mix together dressing ingredients until well combined.
- Drizzle dressing over salad and gently toss. Add salt and pepper as needed.
Jan's Notes: I found pepitas and wasabi peas at Whole Foods and Sprouts. Marcona almonds can be found at Whole Foods, Aj's Fine Foods, and select grocery stores.