This was one of our all time most delicious dinners, and we have had some pretty delicious dinners. The recipe comes from Chez Panisse Café Cookbook. We didn't follow it completely, but I'll copy out the recipe for you nontheless:
Rare Yellowfin Tuna with Coriander and Fennel Seed
Since the ingredients are available almost all year, this dish has become a popular and versatile mainstay on the menu. However, it requires the freshest, most pristine tuna you can fine. The tuna is seared very briefly, so the fish remains quite rare, almost like sashimi.
Serves 6 to 8
- 2 pounds center-cut tuna
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 3 small shallots, diced fine
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed
- 1 small bunch radishes, trimmed
- 1 small bunch cilantro, tough stems removed
Ask your fishmonger for 2 pieces of tuna weight 1 pound each, the pieces about 3 inches in diameter and 8 inches long. Rub the tuna fillets with olive oil and season generously with salt and cracked pepper. In a mortar, crush the coriander and fennel seeds coarsely, until their fragrance is released. Sprinkle the crushed seeds evenly over the tuna, pressing them into the flesh. This can be done several hours before cooking. Hold in the refrigerator.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Carefully place the seasoned tuna in the skillet and sear for 30 seconds on each side. Remove the tuna to a platter and cool for an hour or so at room temperature.
Make a vinaigrette by macerating the shallots in the lemon juice and Champagne vinegar with a good pinch of salt for 10 minutes. WHisk in the olive oil, taste, and adjust the seasoning.
Use a very sharp knife to slice the tuna into even ⅛-inch slices. Place 2 slices side-by-side on each serving plate. Using a japanese manfolin, shave the fennel bulb into thin ribbons and strew them over the fish. Shave over some radish slices in the same way. The result should be a playful mosaic effect. Splash the vinaigrette over the tuna, fennel, and radishes. Add a light sprinkling of salt. Roughly chop the cilantro, scatter it over each plate, and serve.