Charred Lemon Vinaigrette over Seared Ahi Tuna

Bright, piquant, light and refreshing; the perfect weeknight summer dinner. Serve with a roasted green vegetable and a glass of dry white wine and you’ve got yourself a real treat.

Believe it or not, frozen fish is often times better than the “fresh” fish you find at the supermarket. More often than not, that “fresh” fish in the case at the supermarket was already previously frozen, and will be labeled as such – it’s just been thawed for you, sitting on ice for who knows how long. Fish that hasn’t been previously frozen is likely to taste fishier because it’s been in an environment warmer than the water in which it was caught.

Arguably, the most flavorful, freshest tasting fish aside from that which comes directly off the boat the same day is fish that has been flash frozen on the boat right after being caught and kept frozen until it’s ready to eat.

Ahi tuna is best served rare. Raw or rare tuna is generally considered safe to eat providing it has been properly handled. Just be sure to thaw it in the fridge before use.

All that being said, serve it how you like it, but I prefer mine more akin to sashimi than anything else.


For the Charred Lemon Vinaigrette

  1. 2 lemons, halved
  2. 1 lemon, zested, then halved
  3. 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo Chili Flakes, or 1 small pinch red pepper flakes
  4. 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  5. 1/3 cup olive oil
  6. 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar, or vinegar of your choice

For the Tuna

  1. 1-2 Ahi tuna filets per person, depending on their size, thawed.
  2. Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  4. Fresh minced parsley, for garnish


For the Vinaigrette

  1. In a cast iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add halved lemons cut side down and sear until browned and lightly charred in spots, 5 or so minutes. Remove and reserve.
  2. Reduce heat to low. Add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon zest, chili flakes and smashed garlic to the skillet and sizzle gently until the oil is infused with the flavors of the aromatics, 10 – 15 minutes.
  3. Off heat and allow to cool. Strain infused oil through a wire mesh and reserve, leaving 2 tablespoons of infused oil in the skillet.Discard smashed garlic cloves, chili flakes, large chunks of lemon zest and anything else left behind in the skillet.
  4. Add 1 teaspoon vinegar and the juice of all three lemons to the infused oil. Place in a jar with a lid (a mason jar works perfectly here, but tupperware will also work – anything with a lid). Set aside.

For the Tuna

  1. Return the skillet to high heat.
  2. Pat tuna steaks very dry. Brush a translucent layer of mayonnaise (I like to use a pastry brush here) on one side of the tuna and season aggressively with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Place tuna in hot skillet, mayo side down. Brush face-up sides with mayo, season aggressively with salt and pepper.
  4. Allow tuna to sear, undisturbed for 60 – 90 seconds, then flip and sear another 60 seconds.
  5. Remove from skillet, place on a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Once tuna has rested, slice as thinly as possible across the grain.

To Serve:

Shake the hell out of your vinaigrette until nice and emulsified. Arrange tuna on indivudual plates, fanned out for presentation. Drizzle viniagrette over tuna. Serve with roasted asparagus or vegetable of your choice. Garnish with fresh parsley.


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