Tuna is quite possibly the perfect meat. It is a red meat so you can cook it to temperature. It has wonderful, delicate, flavors and a smooth, buttery, texture. It doesn’t take all that long to cook, and is quite easy to work with. Once the cooking process began I was eating in less than 20 minutes–and less than a quarter of that time was for the tuna. The most critical part of this dish is finding a good supplier for thick steaks so you’ll really want to shop around different fish markets. The freshest fish should never smell like fish, so smell is your best indicator on quality. Russian Red Kale may be the most difficult ingredient to find. If you cant source any at your local markets you will want to substitute with a light leaf vegetable that has similar alkaline qualities to wasabi. Micro spicy mustard greens or micro arugula may work as a substitute for the kale.
You want to start this process by mixing up your vinaigrette. Mix sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, a pinch of wasabi powder, and a bit of brown sugar to emulsify the concoction. Whisk to combine and set aside (you’ll want to whisk again to emulsify before spooning on the dish). Next, in a piping hot pan, toast some sesame seeds very quickly and set aside in a bowl about as big as your tuna steaks. You’ll be dipping the finished steaks in the seeds.
There are two ways you can prepare the plantains. If you find some at the asian or caribbean market that have significant diameter you can cut them into rounds, sort of like potato chips. If they’re long and skinny then banana split style will probably work better. Cut them up however you prefer, though, and if you don’t like the result, do it differently next time. Get your pan hot and drop in some brown sugar. As it starts to liquefy add copious amounts of butter and some white wine to taste. As the mixture starts to boil, add your plantain slices and cook until soft.
Heat up a cast iron skillet in the oven at 450 degrees. Be incredibly careful when taking it out and putting it on the stove top–it isn’t the sort of thing you want to be waving around. Season your steaks with salt, pepper, and sesame oil and lay them into the already piping hot cast iron skillet on high heat. Sear the tuna for no more than 1 minute 30 seconds on each side. If you overcook tuna you may as well give it to your cat. You should be able to see it cooking up the side of the fish, and you want to flip it well before it gets to the center. After searing the steak on both sides take it out of the pan and let it rest for two minutes.
Throw your kale into the pan to quickly wilt them. Season the greens with salt and pepper. Coat a single side of the tuna in the roasted sesame seeds by placing the steak on top of the seeds you set aside.
Plate the greens first with the caramelized plantains on top. The tuna comes up next. Whisk up your vinaigrette and drizzle over the top of your dish and around the plate.
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