Easy Entertaining: The Tuna Appetizer

The response to the photo (on the left) that I posted on Instagram and Facebook was overwhelming. Everyone thought the dish looked delicious, which it was. Many folks wanted the recipe, which doesn’t really exist. But I will write it down for you. Understand that if you don’t cook, but still want to impress guests, this will work, too, as it mostly requires cutting things. So if you can use a knife, you can make this. If you are short on time, you can also make this. 

The dish is seared tuna, served atop crisp cucumber and is topped with avocado and Siracha. Key point: you must use fresh tuna. Sushi grade is fine, just make sure it is as fresh as possible. If you can’t get fresh tuna, make something else. I buy only about 1/4 pound if I am serving 4-6 people. (This is an appetizer, people, not the main course.)

Take the tuna out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes before cooking. At this time, also take out of the fridge a cucumber and the Siracha. The ripe avocado should already be resting on your counter, as it doesn’t need refrigeration.

Put the tuna on a piece of wax paper (or paper towel, or whatever – this is just to make clean up easy) and season with salt, pepper and perhaps a bit of cumin if you happen to have it. If not, just go with the salt and pepper. Coat a small frying pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat the pan until it is really hot. Don’t stick your finger in there to test it out, please. Put the tuna in the pan for about two minutes, then flip for another two minutes. It should be golden and delicious on the outside but still bright red in the middle. Remove from pan. (This whole part takes about 5-6 minutes total. You can do it earlier in the day and then put it in the fridge for a bit. It will become cold and easier to slice).

Meanwhile, slice the cucumber into rounds, about 1/4″ thick. (If you make them too thin, they won’t stand up to the toppings, and you want this to be finger food.) Arrange in one layer on a  platter. Next, slice the avocado into small pieces, both lengthwise and crosswise, but don’t scoop out of the shell just yet. Slice the tuna thinly, crosswise (so you get a nice bit of the seared edge and the raw middle all in the same slice. Take the most beautiful slices and place one on top of each cucumber round. Take the leftover slices, rinse, and give to the dog. He or she will be very happy and tell you what a fantastic cook you are. If you need some positive reinforcement, don’t forget the feed-it-to-the-dog step.

Then place a little slice of avocado on top of each piece of tuna. Dot each with a bit of Siracha. Impress guests and pretend it took you all day to make this. wWe served it with a Spanish Albariño, but you could also go with Champagne, Pinot Noir or most any other white wine. Let the compliments roll in, and when your friends ask you to make this again, you can act like it was a big hardship, but nothing is too good for your friends!

Enjoy and don’t forget to let me know how yours turns out.