August 19, 2012

Spicy Grilled Tuna and Arugula Salad with Creamy Guacamole

Why does Trader Joe's have to sell a bag of four avocados for $3.29? (and why am I complaining about it?) The problem is that it's such a good deal that I can't pass it up, and then I spend my week thinking about avocados. I love guacamole and could eat it daily. But in the name of creativity, and since it would be a crime to allow an unused avocado to go bad, I try to think of new ways to incorporate avocado into a meal.

I was in a meeting at work when I started planning out this spicy tuna and and creamy guacamole salad. There were a few thought processes that went on while I dreamed of dinner at my meeting:

Non-meeting-related thought #1: I love spicy tuna rolls. I wondered how I could somehow pack that fiery flavor into my tuna steak.

Non-meeting-related-thought #2: Oooh, and what about that guacamole served at El Vez? (a restaurant on the street just behind my office). My favorite of their unique guacamole selections includes one with goat cheese and pistachios mixed in. It's unreal.

More non-meeting-related-thoughts ensued. I realized I had feta at home. The feta would add a salty, creamy zing to my creamy avocado topping. Then I secretly surfed recipes on my phone and started mentally concocting a marinade for my tuna steak based on a few different ones I found.

When the meeting ended I looked down at my notepad. What I'd written was....

Ingredients: serves 2
3 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
One jalapeño, stem removed
1/4 cup fresh lime juice + the zest of half a lime
2 tuna steaks
1/4 cup sliced red onion, divided
1 teaspoon chopped basil
1 teaspoon chopped mint
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1 ripe avocado
Sea salt

4 oz. arugula
2 oz. crumbled feta cheese
Half of the above red onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

Directions: In a dry skillet over medium heat, cook jalapeño and garlic cloves, turning occasionally until each is gently charred (a few minuted less for the jalapeño). Allow to cool, then purée in a blender with the lime juice, zest, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pat tuna steaks dry and place in a shallow baking dish. Pour 1/8 cup of the purée over the fish and turn to coat both sides. Marinate 10 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, add to the remaining purée in the blender: half the red onions, basil, mint, cilantro, avocado, and a dash of salt. Purée until smooth, salt to taste. Set aside.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the tuna steaks. Cook 4 minutes on each side for a medium steak, turning only once. Pile half of the arugula on each of two plates. Sprinkle the remaining red onion, and feta cheese, on each. Whisk together olive oil, balsamic, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl to make a dressing. Place one tuna steak atop each salad. Scoop half of the creamy guacamole on top of each tuna steak, then drizzle the olive oil and balsamic dressing on top of the salad. Serve immediately.


  1. Kudos Lauren! =) I must say you are, indeed, creative for turning an unused avocado for something awesome as this. I hope meetings will make me think as creative as it did to you. I love the way the meal looks and I would love to try the taste. The food dressing will surely complement the tuna steak. Way to go!
    ->Joseph Carr

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