Seared Ahi Tuna with Lavender-Pepper Crust

adapted via: From The Earth To The Table - John's Wine Country Cuisine

Yields: 8 servings
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 3 min


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Mustard Seed Dressing (recipe follows)
1 1/2 pounds center-cut Ahi tuna or 4 (4 to 6-ounce) 1-inch thick sushi quality tuna steaks
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon white peppercorns
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender flowers
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups savory mixed fresh salad greens and herbs


Prepare Mustard Seed Dressing; set aside.

If using the center-cut Ahi tuna, trim and cut the tuna into a block approximately 2 inches across; then cut into 1-inch steaks.

Crush the salt, peppercorns, fennel seeds, and lavender with a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin. Lightly oil the tuna with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil; evenly coat the tuna with the lavender-pepper mixture, patting off any excess.

In a heavy bottomed sauté pan or a cast-iron pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Increase the heat to high and place the tuna in the pan. Sear for 1 minute, then turn over carefully, reducing the heat to medium. Sear the other side for 1 more minute until medium rare. Remove from heat and immediately refrigerate the tuna for at least 1 hour but no more than 3 hours.

To serve, arrange the greens on chilled individual serving plates. Drizzle with Mustard Seed Dressing. Thinly slice the tuna and arrange on top of the dressed greens.

Makes 8 servings.

Recommended wine: Fume/Sauvignon Blanc offers some balancing acidity to the peppery, mustardy flavors in the dish. A young, vibrantly fruity Pinot Noir works beautifully as a red wine accompaniment.

Mustard Seed Dressing

4 tablespoons prepared whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons toasted mustard seed
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons vegetable stock or water
1 teaspoon honey (or to taste)
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place mustard seeds in a baking pan.

Place in oven and roast for a couple of minutes (watch carefully so the seeds don't burn).

Remove from oven and let cool.

Whisk all the ingredients together and season to taste.