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Pepper Crusted Seared Ahi with Pomegranate Balsamic Syrup

We serve this spectacular dish with Braised Greens and Mashed Potatoes. Mouthwatering.  Would also be swell with Sweet Rice Timbales and Napa Cabbage Slaw.

½ cup pomegranate juice (unsweetened)
¼ cup honey
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup tamari
Expeller-pressed high-heat vegetable oil (a couple of tablespoons)
4 6-ounce pieces of Ahi tuna
1 ½ teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup coarsely ground black pepper

Combine juice, honey, vinegar and tamari in a small saucepan and bring to a low simmer.  Allow mixture to reduce by half, about 15-20 minutes.

Use your fingers or a brush to lightly oil each side of the tuna pieces.  Sprinkle with a little salt.  Grind pepper or if you're Anthony Bourdain, smash peppercorns with the back of a knife and put on a plate.  Place each piece of tuna on the plate so that pepper adheres.  Flip over and repeat so that both the top and bottom of each piece of Ahi have a thin layer of coarse pepper.

Heat 2 teaspoons of an oil that can take high heat (like safflower or sunflower or peanut) in a large skillet.  Bring heat up to high so that oil is very hot but not smoking.  Place each Ahi piece in the skillet and sear until fish is cooked about ¼” from the bottom (about 1 minute).  Turn each piece over and repeat.  Do not overcook.  The fish is meant to be red inside, only seared to white ¼” in from top and bottom.

Remove from heat and let rest for a minute.  Slice into ¼” strips with a sharp knife.  Serve over sautéed greens or rice and drizzle with the pomegranate reduction.

Serves 4
Preparation time: 25 minutes

Original recipe, C.Lair, copyright 2010


Tessa Francis
U.S. Atlantic troll-caught or longline- caught tuna is the best option for this gorgeous dish! Try to avoid other fisheries (like Pacific-caught).
October 13, 2010, 3:58 pm

Kim Carlson
Cynthia, this looks great! I might try it with albacore, if I can still find any. Any advice for grinding that much pepper? It'll take a long time with our little grinder.
October 13, 2010, 4:06 pm

Danielle McClellan
Oh my! This looks fantastic. Do you think that anyone who is not from the Seattle area will get the joke about the fish guys throwing fish at Jane at the Market? That cracked me up.
October 13, 2010, 4:23 pm

Gary H.
Jane cracks me up! 'They were all throwing fish at me!' Lol. Oh btw, the fish thingy looks good too...
October 13, 2010, 5:31 pm

Laura S
This looks delicious! However, black pepper does not agree with me. Is there an alternative that can be used for the crust?
October 13, 2010, 5:48 pm

Shelly N
The pomegranate syrup in this recipe is so easy and makes this dish SO DELICIOUS! Loved this dish - thank you for sharing!
October 13, 2010, 5:57 pm

maria bergner
thank you for sharing is it ok if we cook it more to get rid of the red stripe btw Jane shouldn't quit just cause of fish being thrown it is a fish market anyway just catch it and throw it back. good luck on your house hunt.
October 13, 2010, 6:52 pm

Ralph manak
alternative to pepper: ground regular and back sesame seeds.
October 13, 2010, 8:53 pm

Sue Scott
I'm from the UK and have no idea what the fish throwing thing is about but I love your videos! Recipe looks fabulous and would be great with other fish or meat.
October 14, 2010, 3:30 am

Anne-Marie S.
Video link to Seattle's Pike Place Market, where they throw the fish.
October 14, 2010, 7:26 am

Cynthia Lair
Yes read first comment from Tessa about what fisheries to buy from. She knows and so does Monterrey Bay Aquarium. Fun fun.
October 14, 2010, 3:55 pm

Sue Scott
Great video, thank you Anne- Marie. I thought they were going to start throwing the octopus as well! Seattle looks like a great place.
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Rebecca Bartsch
This is very delicious. Thank you Cynthia. Here are a couple adjustments I made. I used salmon. I understand from my research that Ahi tuna contains one of the highest sources of Mercury to be found! I really like the 1 minute on each side and that worked well for the salmon too. I used coconut oil for the searing. I think that heating polyunsaturated oils such as sunflower or safflower is not a good health practice as they have unstable bonds and produce free radicals. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is fully saturated and is therefore the most stable oil you could use for cooking. I loved the Pomegranite/Balsamic Reduction.
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