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17th February
written by Steph

Maple-Glazed Tuna and Curried Pear & Potato Salad

It’s been ages since I posted a recipe on the site, something I apologize for. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking – I have – it’s just that I haven’t been making anything that seems all that blog-worthy. I feel like I’ve been in a bit of a cooking rut for the past few months (don't the holidays do that to us? Where all you want to do is eat out or order in take-out?), but I think I’m finally snapping out of it. I’ve recently been seeking out lots of new recipes to try, and the thought of cooking is no longer something that makes me feel tired but something that makes me feel excited.

Tony and I are never ones to really celebrate Valentine’s Day because I think it’s a fairly awful holiday. I feel like if Tony and I need the push of a corporate occasion to tell each other how much we care for each other, then our relationship is in trouble. I also dislike how restaurants use this time as an excuse to create special (read: expensive) menus that really break the budget. This year Tony and I decided we would observe Valentine’s Day from the comfort of our own home, where I would cook us a meal that was a little bit fancier than what we would normally make for ourselves (but at a quarter of the price of what we would pay dining out). I decided I would try a recipe I got off of Epicurious that was created by the most recent winner of Top Chef Masters, Marcus Samuelsson. This recipe is his own, and I have to admit that I didn’t stray from it one jot! Shocking, I know, but if you make it yourself, you’ll see it needs no adjusting! Ingredients For the tuna
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp REAL maple syrup
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Two 6-ounce tuna fillets
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cilantro sprigs
For the salad
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters or 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup shredded baby spinach
Method 1.     Prepare the glaze for the tuna. Whisk together the mustard, maple syrup, lime juice and 1 tbsp of olive oil together. Set aside. 2.     Season your tuna steaks with salt and pepper on each side and set aside. 3.     Begin preparing the salad. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add in the potatoes and sauté until golden, about 12 minutes. Add in the pears, garlic, almonds, and curry powder and sauté for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Then toss with the lemon juice and spinach. 4.     Prepare the fish. After adding in the pears, etc., to the pan with the potatoes, heat another skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat and add in the remaining 3 tbsp of olive oil for the tuna. After mixing together the salad, sear your tuna on each side for about 30 seconds. The goal is to just lightly cook the outside so that the inside is still rare (or raw, really). Of course if that's not to your taste, you can easily cook the fish longer to cook it more thoroughly, but you probably wouldn't want to go beyond 1 minute on each side. 5.     Remove tuna from the pan and brush with the maple-mustard glaze. Slice the tuna, place atop the salad and garnish with cilantro. We don’t eat tons of fish at home, but I love to order seared tuna when we’re out and it’s on offer. I do tend to find that most restaurants tend to only do seared tuna in a vaguely Asian way (always served with snap peas or gingered carrots and some kind of sesame flavoring), and while there’s nothing wrong with that, there’s so much more that can be done with this fish! Like this recipe, for instance, which was SO tasty. I admit that I wasn’t 100% certain how the glaze would mesh (mustard and maple syrup?) but I kept the faith and I’m glad I did because it was REALLY yummy. All of the flavors worked really well together, and the salad paired beautifully with the tuna. I could certainly see serving it alongside other protein, but I can’t really imagine anything matching it better than the tuna (but I bet pork would be great too). This is one of those meals that is deceptively elegant but secretly super easy to prepare. It probably only took 25 minutes total to whip together, which was perfect for a Valentine’s Day meal that fell during the week. As an added bonus, the meal is also really healthy which fancy meals so rarely are… You can be certain that we’ll be making this again regardless of the occasion. The next time you’re looking to spruce up your dinner routine, give this one a shot!


  1. 02/17/2011

    Oh that tuna looks good! Fresh tuna steak is probably my favorite food ever, though I admit I’m not fond of it with sweet dressings. Not fond of maple in general, though Jason is a huge fan.

  2. 02/17/2011

    Beautiful presentation, and in only 25 minutes? You have skills!

  3. 02/17/2011

    Your photo of this meal is just gorgeous, and it looks like something that I would love to try, and would be fairly easy to prepare. I am glad it was such a success with you!

  4. 02/17/2011

    That looks fabulous! I have trouble searing tuna properly- I always end up overcooking it…

  5. 02/17/2011

    Mmm, looks good! I made an angel food cake to show CP how much I cared – on Feb 15th. 🙂

  6. 02/21/2011

    @ Amanda: I love sweet & savory combinations, but my brother hates them! I didn’t feel like the glaze was overly pronounced, however, so you might still want to whip some up and try it.. Or you could easily omit it for yourself if you don’t care for it!
    @ charley: Practice makes perfect (or competent?) I guess! 😀
    @ zibilee: This was such a yummy quick meal! I will definitely make it again.
    @ Aarti: I used a cast iron skillet that I got to the smoking point (or just below it, really) and then splashed some olive oil in the pan and plopped the tuna in. They needed no more than 30s per side and then I rescued them from the pan! It can be done!
    @ Sarah: That’s the spirit! I like the way you work!
    @ Kim: Yeah the glaze was truly delicious, I’m glad I kept the faith and just followed the recipe. It’s weird but when you put the two together, they make some gestalt combination that no longer tastes like either maple or mustard!
    @ softdrink: You could substitute in pork! Doesn’t have to be tuna if you hate it!

  7. Wow, that looks beautiful! I was skeptical of the mustard and syrup, but glad it’s good. I would expect nothing less from a Top Chef winner!

  8. 02/17/2011

    You lost me at tuna. I just can’t do it. Although maple? Yum!

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