When I spend most of my morning and afternoon sweating in the kitchen, the last thing I want is a hot meal. I want something refreshing and light to cool down with. Sure I can throw together a salad but it's not exactly what I crave after a long day. That's where this seared ahi tuna with chili basil vinaigrette comes in. Marinate some tuna, lightly sear the outside and serve it with a delicious vinaigrette, pickled cucumbers, and grilled avocado. It's healthy, it's refreshing, it's oh so tasty!
Seared Ahi Tuna with Chili Basil Vinaigrette
- 1 Persian cucumber
- 2 tablespoon boiling water
- 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
Seared ahi tuna
- 8 ounces ahi tuna
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ cup cilantro chopped
- ½ cup basil chopped
- juice and zest of 1 lime
- ½ jalapeno sliced
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 avocado
- rice for serving
- Make the pickled cucumber. Thinly slice the cucumber into 1/16-inch thick slices. Whisk together the boiling water with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Pour over the cucumber slices and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the tuna marinade. Combine ¼ cup olive oil with cilantro, basil, zest and juice of 1 lime, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, and 2 teaspoon sugar, whisking until combined. Reserve ¼ of the sauce for serving and pour the remaining over the tuna. Let sit for 20 minutes.
- Preheat a grill to high heat. Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Brush the cut side with olive oil and place it on the grill. Cook until grill marks appear. Set aside.
- Heat a medium saute pan over high heat. Sear the tuna until browned on both sides but still pink in the middle. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Slice the tuna and transfer to a plate.
- Serve the seared tuna with the reserved sauce, pickled cucumber, grilled avocado, and rice if desired.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
The great thing about seared tuna is that there's minimal cooking time. You're actually spending most of your time marinating the fish and preparing the sides. Sounds great for the summer, right?
The tuna is only going to be seared on the outside so make sure you buy high-quality fish. I always try to buy sushi-grade tuna if possible since that's a guarantee that it's very fresh.
Before you marinate the fish, make a small batch of quick pickled cucumbers. You can also prepare the cucumbers the day before. I personally like to pickle the cucumbers for a shorter period of time so that they still have that crunch.
Now for the tuna. Chop the cilantro and basil and combine them with the remaining ingredients for the marinade. Set aside a small portion so that you can serve it with the fish later on.
Cover the tuna in the marinade and let it sit for 20 minutes. I don't recommend letting it marinade overnight because the fish can get too salty.
While the fish is absorbing all of those delicious flavors, cut an avocado in half and grill it. You can also serve the dish with fresh sliced avocado but I thought the grilled avocado was a fun addition.
Heat a saute pan over high heat and sear the tuna just until the outside is browned. If you prefer your seared ahi tuna to be a little more cooked, give it an extra minute or two on the pan. Alternatively, you can grill the tuna over high heat.
Let the tuna rest for 10 minutes, then slice it across the grain. Serve the seared ahi tuna with the reserved marinade, pickled cucumbers, and grilled avocado. You can even add a bowl of rice for a complete and balanced meal.
If I want a quick dinner that still maximizes on flavor, I'm turning to this seared ahi tuna with chili basil vinaigrette. The entire dish hits all the marks of sweet, savory, and sour, waking up your tastebuds. Healthy and delicious is possible!
For more seafood inspiration check out this honey walnut coconut shrimp!