Bask in the season’s bounty with this colorful and surprisingly simple seared tuna dish, perfect for warm spring afternoons
by Chef Peter Botros
ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT
The yanagiba knife also known as a sushi or sashimi knife is a stellar tool for thin and even cutting, especially when slicing delicate items like raw or rare fi sh. A yanagiba is a single bevel knife, meaning it’s only sharpened on one side, with a long and slender leaf-shaped blade that lets it slice through delicate fish without tearing. Some yanagiba knives cost upwards of $5,000, but home chefs can score great values for under $40. Pictured here is the Kai Wasabi Black Yanagiba Knife, 8.25-inch. Available for $35 on Amazon.
PEPPER SEARED TUNA WITH SPRING PEA, AVOCADO MOUSSE, CUCUMBER CARPACCIO, AND SZECHUAN GARLIC OIL
For the tuna and garnish: 8 oz sushi grade tuna, 1 English cucumber, ¼ cup chopped or micro cilantro, coarse ground black pepper
For the oil: 4 oz canola oil, 4 oz sesame oil, 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon ground szechuan peppercorn, 1 tablespoon granulated garlic, 1 tablespoon ground Japanese red chili, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the mousse: 1 avocado, 1/2 cup blanched peas, 4 oz heavy cream, 1 tablespoon roasted garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and zest and juice of 1 lime
For the oil: simply combine all ingredients, shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Repeat four or five times over the course of the prep time (15 minutes). For the mousse: in a food processor, pulse the flesh of the avocado and peas until it is the consistency of cottage cheese. Add remainder of the ingredients and blend on high for 1-2 minutes or until mixture doubles in volume. The result should be fluy, smooth, and luxurious. For the tuna: crust in coarse black pepper and a pinch of salt. Sear on all sides 30-45 seconds each, then set aside for three minutes. Use a yanagiba knife and slice tuna ⅛-inch thick. For the cucumber: use a Japanese mandolin to make full length slices. If you don’t have a mandolin, a good hack is to use a vegetable peeler in one long and fluid stroke. Have fun with the plating arrangement just be sure to sprinkle a little more salt on the tuna right before serving. Enjoy!
CELERY LIKE IT IS
My partner at Violette’s Cellar, Philip Farinacci, challenged me to make a delicious celery-based cocktail. A little experimentation and several stalks of celery later, “The One L” was born, in honor of Philip with one L. Vibrant and refreshing, it’s a great spring and summer sipper.
2 parts cucumber-infused vodka
2 parts cucumber celery juice *made by blending equal parts and straining
½ part fresh lime ½ part simple syrup
2 parts club soda
Garnish with a lime wedge and cucumber ribbon
Chef Peter Botros
The Stone House / 1150 Clove Road
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Violette’s Cellar / 2271 Hylan Boulevard
Sofi a’s Taqueria / 977 Bay Street
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Sally’s Southern / 427 Forest Avenue