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Fresh tuna is very different than canned; if you don't want to spend the admittedly "big bucks" at the fish market for tuna, consider halibut, swordfish, or shark as a worthy substitute. Or, forego fish entirely and try chicken or duck breast. Whichever route you take, we think you'll like this neat combination of flavors.
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) rice vinegar or white vinegar*
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) lime juice zest of 1 lime (1 to 2 teaspoons) OR 1/8 teaspoon lime oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 small hot pepper (such as jalapeño), seeds removed, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
10 to 15 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade**
2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
half of a medium-sized Savoy cabbage, grated or thinly sliced (about 6 cups, 12 ounces)
*If you use white vinegar, increase the sugar to 3 tablespoons.
**Thinly slicing any kind of leaf-like herb or lettuce into very thin, matchstick pieces is called "chiffonade."
Tuna and Marinade
1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup (1/8 ounce) fresh cilantro leaves, lightly packed
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 to 1/2 pounds tuna steak (or a substitute, as detailed at left)
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients except the cabbage. This can be done a day ahead of serving. For the crispiest salad, mix the grated or finely sliced cabbage with the dressing shortly before serving. The salad will look dry, but has plenty of flavor.
Tuna and Marinade
Blend all of the ingredients, except the tuna, in a food processor or blender, or mash them together using a mortar and pestle. Spread this paste over the tuna, reserving 2 tablespoons to brush onto the steaks after they've been cooked.
Grill (or saute) the tuna steaks just until blackened on the outside and cooked the way you like on the inside. Remove them from the heat, and brush with the remaining marinade. Cut into thin (about 1/4-inch) slices.
Assembly: Heat 8 soft breads (See recipe:Soft Wrap Bread) briefly, on the grill or in a frying pan, heating just till they're pliable and warm. Layer each with several slices of tuna, then top with slaw. Yield: filling for 8 sandwiches.
Nutrition information per serving (no bread, 2 ounces tuna with about 2/3 cup salad, 137g): 147 cal, 6g fat, 15g protein, 5g complex carbohydrates, 4g sugar, 2g dietary fiber, 22mg cholesterol, 408mg sodium, 315mg potassium, 470RE vitamin A, 27mg vitamin C, 1mg iron, 31mg calcium, 194mg phosphorus..
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XII, No. 4, Spring 2001 issue.