Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ahi Tuna Salad--Barefoot Bloggers & Giveaway #2 Winner!

Ahh, (or rather ahi), it is a rare Barefoot Contessa recipe indeed, where I don't have to make drastic changes to make it healthier! This Tuna Salad, our first recipe of the month and selected by Kate of Warm Olives and Cool Cocktails, made with seared ahi and avocado really only needed a reduction of some of the sodium in it and it was good to go. I am lucky that I can get fresh, local ahi tuna here; it's not cheap but it is good, and I eat it frequently. I even make a couple of ahi dishes similar to this salad regularly, (here and here and oh yeah, here too), so I was happy to try Ina's version. 

I decided to use a ring mold because I firmly believe that we should all eat more food piled into towers. (It's fun and looks cool!) It serves another purpose too; if you don't mix the lime with the tuna directly until you serve it, it doesn't start "cooking" the tuna and change the color. In a ring mold you can dress the avocado and put the tuna on top with a little drizzle of low-sodium soy sauce. Then just knock down the tower and mix it up when you serve it. The perfect way to impress your friends! ;-) 

The recipe can be found below and at Food Network site here, or in Barefoot Contessa at Home (pgs 68-69). I used the recipe in the book which is pretty close to the online version but it seems to use a bit less olive oil and salt (and by the way trust me, you don't need any salt besides just a bit for sprinkling on the tuna!)

Tuna Salad
Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten
(Serves 4-5)

2 pounds very fresh tuna steak, cut 1-inch thick
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black, plus extra for sprinkling
2 limes, zest grated
1 teaspoon wasabi powder
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (3 limes)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
10 dashes hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
1 to 2 ripe Hass avocados, medium diced
1/4 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
1/4 cup red onion, small diced

Brush the tuna steaks with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the tuna steaks in a very hot saute pan and cook for only 1 minute on each side. Set aside on a platter.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the olive oil, salt, pepper, lime zest, wasabi, lime juice, soy sauce and hot sauce. Add the avocados to the vinaigrette.

Cut the tuna in chunks and place it in a large bowl. Add the scallions and red onion and mix well. Pour the vinaigrette mixture over the tuna and carefully mix.

Notes/Results: Really good, this is a refreshing salad with great flavors. I like the slight kick from the wasabi powder and the Tabasco. I am not going to say it is my favorite ahi salad recipe ever, but it is a good one. I just made enough for two servings as this is not the kind of salad that keeps well. Here, I served it on a bed of local herb salad mix but I sometimes serve salads like this with a bowl of steamed rice for a bit more substance. I can not emphasize enough that I would carefully taste the dressing before adding any salt to it. With the soy sauce and lime juice, you just don't need it and adding the full amount, I think would be WAY too salty. I used low-sodium soy sauce and still didn't add any. Now I am a huge raw fish / seared ahi fan myself, but don't stay away from this salad if you don't like raw or rare fish, you can still get some great flavor even if you cook the fish through. It won't have the dramatic color but it will still be good!

Thanks for a great, healthy pick Kate--this was a good one! You can see what the other Barefoot Bloggers thought of the recipe by going to the BB site here.


And on to the winner of my 300th Post / "Blogoversary" Giveaway #2, Hawaii's Best Sides, Salads and Soups and Black Lava Sea Salt.  

The winner of the random drawing is (Drum roll please....)

Tangled Noodle!  In her comment Tangled Noddle says "I am definitely a soup girl; I love all kinds but my favorite would have to be she-crab soup - so very creamy and decadent but absolutely delicious. It's the first thing I order whenever we've visited in North and South Carolinas, and Georgia."  Congrats Tangled Noodle, just email me your mailing address and I will get your package out to you. I think you will have fun cooking with the book and salt!

There is still one more chance to win a great prize! Giveaway #3 is a special one with a few of my favorite things, made right here in Hawaii. You won't want to miss an opportunity to win them so come back Saturday to see this fun prize package!


  1. I bet you had the best, freshest looks so great! And congrats TN...yum!

  2. yummy! I made something similar for dinner just the other night :) congratulation TN!!

  3. I love Ina Gartens recipe. Have never had a bad one. This looks fantastic!

  4. YAY! Thank you so much - I can't wait to try out the recipes here! I really am a soup girl but I'm better at eating than preparing them. However, I'm working on it (as well as my salad and sandwich techniques) so that I can join you on you Souper Sunday events. Many, many thanks!

  5. Such a beautiful meal! I have yet to work with fresh tuna here.
    "we should all eat more food piled into towers" Yes! I am going to print that on a sign and go wave it at people. ;)
    I am madly in love with the froggy bowl. I must have one.

  6. This looks wonderful. Most of Ina's recipes are terrific. This one looks like another winner.

  7. I love the professionalism of the ring mold! It looks very gourmet. Ahi tuna is the best, can't go wrong there.

  8. Gorgeous presentation.

    I ended up doing a backtrack.

  9. I have been dying to find good ahi here lately! That looks soo good!

  10. I love that you are using food local to you, I bet this is delicious!

  11. Deb I could hug you! It looks terrific, thanks so much for making it. And I'm totally with you on the sodium. It needed NO salt and I even used reduced sodium soy. Sometimes, that Ina, she plumb nutty with her ingredients.

  12. Oh wow! I love your tower of goodness. What a great idea and done for all the right reasons - to keep the tuna away from the lime. Brilliant. This was a great dish and I agree about the sodium.

  13. love, love , love your presentation!

  14. this salad looks really good, and that ahi looks so fresh!! I love the way things present with a ring mold. So chic!

  15. Looks delish! I am a little behind this week, so I haven't made it yet. I love how you served it, so pretty!

  16. You're so lucky to be living so close to the source. Our fish situation in the midwest is not too hot.

  17. Your pictures look so good! We really enjoyed this recipe.


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