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Asian slaw in ginger-lime vinaigrette

(and a word on seared ahi tuna…)

The other night, Zack came for dinner. He’s a hungry guy, a college student living on his own now. When he comes home to eat, we like to feed him well (which in no small part means: plenty.) One of his favorite things (and we know he’s not fixing this in his own kitchen) is seared ahi. He got an especially good piece this time and the “boy” was sitting satisfied (licking his whiskers) when his plate was cleaned. The thing about searing ahi is this: it happens quickly and it’s got to quickly make its way to the plate to be enjoyed hot. That doesn’t allow for portraiture … not around here anyway. So I’ll simply tell you how I fix it and leave you to conjure the images and the incredible tasty tenderness of it all.

Start with sushi-grade ahi, about 1-inch thick. I like to coat it with a layer of sesame seeds (either white or black,) patted in well…it’s quite beautiful, there’s no possibility of the ahi sticking to the pan, and I seem to get the very best sear on it this way. Put a cast iron skillet on the burner, turned to medium-high. Allow the pan to become searing-hot. Add a drizzle of sesame oil, swirl to coat the skillet, then quickly drop in the tuna.  Sear for 1 to 2 minutes undisturbed (time depends on thickness of the cut, the heat of your pan and how rare you like it – most love it very rare); flip and sear the other side. In very little saucers, serve wasabi and tamari sauce for dipping. For each of us in our family, this is one of our very favorite meals! We served it this time with white basmati rice scattered with black sesame seeds – and the following slaw, which, thankfully, stood still long enough (just barely) to be caught in a photo:

 fresh, clean and bright vegetable confetti tossed in a savory vinaigrette that balances between tart and sweet and gingery-warm. 

Asian slaw with red cabbage, red pepper, snow peas & carrot in ginger-lime vinaigrette

  • ½ head of red cabbage (3 to 4 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 or 2 handfuls snow-peas
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (black are pretty)

Finely slice the cabbage and red pepper. Either shred or match-stick cut (in 2-inch lengths) the peeled carrot. Wash the snow-peas and remove their strings. Slice thinly lengthwise. Toast the sesame seeds in a pan on the stove, medium to medium-low heat for maybe 5 minutes, shaking the pan frequently. Don’t allow to smoke. Toss with the following –

Ginger-Lime Vinaigrette

  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (½ of an extra-juicy lime)
  • 1 Tablespoon raspberry vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup (or slightly more to taste)
  • 1½ teaspoon finely-minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil (amazing stuff)
  • 3 Tablespoons canola or other light oil

Place ingredients in a small lidded jar and shake well to blend. The best way to determine if the balance of any salad dressing is right is to sample a little of it on a bit of salad. If the balance of sweet to sour isn’t to your liking, make adjustments.  If you dress the slaw just before serving, it will be very crispy. If you dress and wait 30 minutes before serving, it will have started to soften the vegetables and the flavors will have blended. You decide which you like. In any event, a salad dressing is best if prepared a bit before you’re ready to use it.

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. You did it again! This is so beautiful and so simple. I adore these colors! We must try this with ahi.

    November 12, 2011
  2. Ali #

    That salad is so gorgeous! The mister can’t wait for me to put THIS love on our table!! The ahi as you have directed us in preparation before, always turns out flawlessly and really what could be more simple or fast or heavenly (especially for my fish loving family!)?!

    November 12, 2011
  3. This is the prettiest salad slaw, and I’ve been wanting to try ahi tuna. Thanks for showing me how!

    November 12, 2011
    • Ahi is pretty exquisite stuff Smidge. I hope you’ll try it – and let me know!

      November 12, 2011
  4. Wonderful recipe. I’ve made more Mexican style slaws, but never tried this and need to ASAP.

    November 13, 2011
  5. OK, I’m totally smitten for your photography. It looks like I could lick the pic off my laptop. I totally wished we lived closer so I could try some of your yummy food in person. Thank you for sharing. You seriously are inspiring me to cook something healthy today! -Annie

    November 14, 2011
    • Let me know what healthy thing you decide on (while I bake cookies!) : ) I’m not always bad, but today I am. Stay tuned for the post!

      November 14, 2011
  6. deb #

    Another “must try”. I am building up my ingredients list from your recipes and was pleasantly surprised to find I have everything but snow peas! Beautifully presented . . . again.

    November 14, 2011
    • Thank you, Deb! This is one I think you’ll really like!

      November 14, 2011
  7. carolyn #

    This is the best crunchy, nutty, tang there is!

    November 14, 2011
  8. ALL LOOKS SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 3, 2014

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