My First Chutney

Posted in Fish, Mango, Tuna on May 23rd, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

It’s really difficult to find a recipe for mango that doesn’t follow ‘mango’ with either ‘salsa’ or ‘chutney’. Since I’m not a salsa person I gave in to the chutney side tonight to make dinner, Seared Tuna with Mango Chutney.


  • 1 3/4 pounds center-cut tuna fillets, 1-inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced ginger root
  • 1 to 2 mangoes, flesh cut into large dice (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (1-ounce box) golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup sugar

I had to quarter this a little awkwardly for my one piece of fish, using half a mango (the other half will be a snack at work or mixed in yogurt) and ignoring the raisins outright.

Oh and there they go with the “good quality” again – where do I find out if my olive oil is up to standard? I’d post a picture but I would be too embarrassed if it’s not.


  • Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Using 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, rub it on both sides of the tuna fillets and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Actually it makes more sense to just leave the fish in the fridge until it’s being cooked at the end, but rearranging the order would have made the original recipe read awkwardly.

  • In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and ginger and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the diced mango. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Add the orange juice, cider vinegar, raisins, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, stirring until combined. Increase the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced.

With the cutting back on the recipe there wasn’t really much in the way of liquid to reduce in the first place, but I let it simmer while preparing my side-spinach since I wanted to use the same pan to cook the tuna.

  • While the chutney is cooking, prepare the tuna:

Or after the chutney has cooked if you’re trying to save on dishes. Now skip back to step one and take that tuna out of the fridge and cook it like all previous seared tuna. There seems to be only two methods – oil the pan and put the tuna in, or oil the tuna and put it in the pan.

  • Transfer to a cutting board and cut the fillets into thick slices, across the grain. Divide the slices of tuna among individual plates and spoon some of the mango chutney alongside.

A plate I can be proud of – the spinach was sauteed in a bit of sesame oil with soy sauce and sesame seeds.

However I’m not sure if what I made, despite the name, can be considered a true chutney. At the least it seems to be a very westernized version of an Indian condiment, especially considering there weren’t even any spicy ingredients for me to intentionally leave out.

Seared Tuna With(out) Avocado

Posted in Fish, Tuna on March 1st, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

I’m trying out these as-seen-on-TV “GreenBags” that claim to keep your produce fresher longer. Andrew says it’s just a gimmick but the real reason I’m interested is because they’re reusable. I have my reusable shopping bags and a drawer full of reusable containers, and hate that I have to buy all of my vegetables in individual disposable plastic bags. If it keeps my vegetables longer too then that’s a bonus.

My cilantro was a little wilty but didn’t smell like it was going bad after being in the fridge for I-forgot-exactly-when-I-bought-this-but-I-think-it-was-last-week. I didn’t close the top of the bag well so that could be the reason. Anyway I’m trying to be a believer.

Here’s where the cilantro comes in: Dinner was Seared Tuna With Avocado.


  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 jalapeƱo chiles, seeded, de-ribbed, minced (if very hot, use only 1 chile)
  • 4 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice from 4 limes
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (use wheat-free soy sauce if you need to avoid gluten or wheat)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 (6 ounce) blocks sashimi-quality tuna
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced

I didn’t use the chilies because I don’t have any, but one of these days I will have to get over my fear of cooking spicy things if I’m going to be authentic to my recipes.

This is actually a really hard ingredient list to quarter down to a single serving. I ended up with something like a tablespoon of soy sauce and a tablespoon of lime juice for those which didn’t divide easily. Then when the olive oil diluted the happy soy-lime-ginger smell I added another spoon of each.

Mixing bowl

Look at my ingredients artistically arranged around the bowl. Don’t look at the dirty dishes in the sink.

I’ll leave the details with the original recipe, but basically mix together, sear the tuna a minute on each side, and pour the mixture over the fish.

Seared tuna in pan

Look at my gorgeous tuna. Don’t look at the dirty stove.

My avocado however was not stored in a “GreenBag” and had that are-you-sure-you-still-want-to-eat-me? taste.

I’m not sure if the flavor was supposed to be that strong or if I overdid it with the lime juice, but it worked out for me to make up for the strong wasabi taste I’m used to with my tuna. I’m glad to have a healthier recipe that doesn’t rely on a pound of butter. The downside is butter tastes really good…

Seared Tuna with Wasabi-Butter Sauce

Posted in Fish, Tuna on January 3rd, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

This recipe is entirely too much work.

It’s worth it in the end, but you can also justify that glass of wine “because the bottle’s open anyway”. Just wait until dinner because in my experience alcohol and cooking leads to sloppy cooking.

I happily grab up the tuna whenever I see it in the store with the magic words, “sashimi grade”. For someone afraid to venture into the world of raw fish, seared tuna might be a good place to start. It’s all around amazing.


  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 10 fluid ounces white wine
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon wasabi paste, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, or as needed
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • (6 ounce) fresh tuna steaks, 1 inch thick

I cut the recipe in half so it only uses one whole stick of butter. We’re definitely not calling this one healthy.


  • Combine the white wine vinegar, white wine and shallots in a small saucepan over medium heat.

Shallots, meet Mr. Choppy.

Okay it’s name isn’t Mr. Choppy. I’ve never given it a name but I’m sure “Mr. Choppy” is trademarked and I don’t want to get sued. I would however be willing to go on an infomercial and declare how much Mr. Chopper here has changed my life. I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me to use it when I was complaining about chopping shallots last time.

  • Simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Strain out shallot and discard, return liquid to the pan.

The first time I made this I thought, ‘I love shallots so much, it’s a shame to throw them out and waste them,’ so I left them in. Don’t do that. I won’t say it ruined the dish but I could tell why they were meant to go away and picking them out later was a pain.

  • Stir the wasabi and soy sauce into the reduction in the pan. Over low heat, gradually whisk in butter one cube at a time allowing the mixture to emulsify. Be careful not to let the mixture boil.

This is the part where this recipe starts to overstay its welcome and feel tedious. I have wondered what would happen here if you were to just throw the stick of butter on and walk away for a while… I’m sure a real chef, one who didn’t have to look up what “emulsify” means in this context, would be outraged at the results. I end up compromising with myself by using larger and larger chunks of butter as sauce grows and becomes easier to blend.

  • When all of the butter has been incorporated, stir in cilantro, and remove from heat. Pour into a small bowl, and set aside.

The good news is at this point the recipe is 90% done. Cooking the tuna itself takes mere minutes.

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brush tuna steaks with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place in the hot skillet, and sear for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Be careful not to overcook, this fish should be served still a little pink in the center. Serve with sauce.

I’m going to repeat the be careful not to overcook, and actually the fish should be more than “a little pink” in the center. There should be a gorgeous contrast between seared edges and red/pink insides.

I suppose I should have taken a cut-open shot to show off the insides. I guess this just means I need to eat more tuna and do it right next time.