Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cumin-Curry Tuna Salad with Dates

This is a post from my friend Lisa (you may remember her Mediteranean Chicken recipe), who has recently "Gone Paleo". She is a talented home cook who I have known since high school and who has a shared passion for food, fitness, and health. She's been sharing her meal creations on my Facebook page and I recently asked her to share this one with all of you. Enjoy the recipe, her modifications, and the story behind this meal! ~Jen 

Serves 6-8 as a First Course, 
2 as a Main Course 
2 8-ounce tuna steaks 
2 teaspoons ground cumin seeds, plus 2 teaspoons toasted cumin seeds 
2 teaspoons curry powder, mild or hot, as preferred
1 teaspoon paprika 
Oil for pan frying (recipe suggests Canola, I used avocado oil)
2 cups mixed salad greens (I used about 4 cups)
2 tomatoes, cut into strips
1 onion, sliced 
1 large mild red chile, seeded and finely chopped (I used 2)
3 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)
6 dates, pitted and quartered
1/3 cup olive oil 
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste 
Flaky salt, such as fleur de sel or Maldon 

  1. Season the tuna steaks on both sides with the ground cumin, curry, paprika, and salt to taste. 
  2. Heat a thin film of oil in a skillet over high heat. Add the tuna and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a cutting board. 
  3. In a salad bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, except the flaky salt, and mix well. Adjust the seasoning, possibly using more lemon juice. 
  4. Transfer the salad to serving plates. Slice the tuna steaks and place on top of the salad. Sprinkle with flaky salt and serve. 
NOTE: You can also make this salad using canned tuna. It is not as interesting but very good nonetheless. Just separate the tuna into large chunks and sprinkle with the ground cumin and curry.

This recipe is from the fabulous book I am making my way through called "Where Flavor Was Born", Recipes and Culinary Travels Along the Indian Ocean Spice Route",  by Andreas Viestad. I am exploring Cumin and the regions that use it and the recipes that utilize it along with other ingredients symbolic of that region. 

Oman is the region (Coastal/Middle East) that is the inspiration of this recipe. The waters off the coast of Oman are on of the last areas where tuna is still common. Most Omani salads use purslane, a small salad green popular in the Arab world and the Indian subcontinent but not much used in the west. The recipe suggested I substitute some bitter, small-leaved salad greens like watercress and arugula along with some mild, like baby lettuce. Whole Foods did not have watercress, so I used arugula and baby greens. The recipe also originally called for chickpeas to also be included, which I omitted to make it Paleo.


lisacsimons said...

Thanks, Jen! I hope you guys like it! Do keep a watchful eye on your tuna steaks when you sear them, they cook super fast and you want them still rare in the center. Enjoy!

lisacsimons said...

Also, if you can find fresh dates (WF did not have them when I went shopping for this recipe) I would use those instead of the dried dates. The dried dates were a bit too sweet for me. Luckily, the acidic lemon juice in the dressing brought the sweetness down some.