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Hawaiian Tuna with Confit Carrots, Soy Caramel and Crispy Ginger

In this Asian-inspired recipe from Chef Tyler Florence, seared tuna is paired with carrots that have been oven-braised in grapeseed oil until very tender. The dish is finished with a soy caramel vinaigrette and crispy rounds of fried ginger.

Ingredients:

For the confit carrots:

  • 1 lb. organic carrots
  • 1 Tbs. yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 pieces fresh ginger, each 1 inch long
  • 1 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cups grapeseed oil, plus more as needed

For the tuna:

  • 1 1/2 lb. sushi-grade center-cut ahi tuna
  • Extra-virgin olive oil as needed
  • Kosher salt, to taste

For the soy caramel:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  •  
  • Juice of 1 lemon

For the crispy ginger:

  • Canola oil for shallow frying
  • 1 large piece fresh ginger, 2 inches long, unpeeled
  •  
  • Radish sprouts for garnish

Directions:

To make the carrots, preheat an oven to 300°F. Place the carrots in a baking dish that is just large enough to hold them and add the mustard seeds, ginger and soy sauce. Add enough grapeseed oil to just cover the carrots, then cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil. Oven-braise the carrots until very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Allow the carrots to cool in the oil. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the braising oil, and slice the carrots into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Set the reserved oil and sliced carrots aside separately; discard the remaining braising oil or save it for another use.

To sear the tuna, cut the tuna into long rectangles 1 inch by 1 inch thick. Rub lightly with olive oil and season with salt. Heat a nonstick sauté pan or a cast-iron griddle over very high heat. Sear the tuna briefly on all four sides until just lightly colored (you want to keep the middle very rare). Transfer to a plate and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

To make the soy caramel, in a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Simmer, swirling the mixture occasionally (do not stir it), until the mixture turns amber, 4 to 5 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the soy sauce. Set the saucepan in a bowl of ice water to quickly bring the soy caramel to room temperature.

In a small bowl, stir together 2 Tbs. of the soy caramel and 6 Tbs. of the reserved braising oil. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice and whisk well to make a broken vinaigrette.

To fry the ginger chips, in a small saucepan, heat 1 inch of canola oil to 350°F. Slice the ginger into thin rounds. Fry the ginger until lightly colored and crispy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Cut the chilled tuna into 1/2-inch-thick tiles and arrange on a large platter. Arrange the braised carrots around the tuna, and drizzle the carrots and tuna lightly with the vinaigrette. Garnish with radish sprouts and the crispy ginger. Serves 4.

Adapted from Tyler Florence Fresh, by Tyler Florence (Clarkson Potter, 2012).