A few weeks ago, our neighbor Andy gifted us a huge chunk of fresh tuna right off the boat after one of his deep-sea fishing trips. I'm talking about 8 pounds worth. I don't remember what Paul and I had planned on eating that night, but whatever it was, it got DITCHED. We set to work on the tuna right away, because when you have a nice piece of fish that fresh, there's only one thing to do.
Eat it raw.
We ate a little of it raw, and it was the best sashimi I've ever had, even if it wasn't cut as beautifully as possible. Dang, it was good. That uber-fresh fish taste of salt, water, and air is one of the best things in life. That's why I love oysters, mussels, shrimp, all of it!
Then, we got busy cutting the chunk into steaks, and if I remember correctly, we got about 10. We seared a couple for dinner that night and wolfed them down, then the next day, seared some more to make a fresh version of the best tuna salad bagel ever--not tuna salad like mayo, celery, pickles, onion, but freshly seared tuna and a lightly tossed salad atop a cream cheese-schmeared poppyseed bagel. My, how classy we've become.
Prep time on this is super fast, because it only takes a minute to cook the tuna. It'll take longer to heat the skillet than it will to cook the fish in it! Whip up a little vinaigrette in a medium sized bowl and toss the greens right in that bowl. I made a super simple vinaigrette (oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper), but you can jazz it up with raw minced garlic, dijon mustard, extra spices, whatever you want. Also, a fresh ring of red onion never hurt anybody's bagel, not even your mama's.
We seared way more tuna than was necessary for this recipe--you'll only need one tuna steak for 2 to 3 bagels. The natural diagonal separations in the steak are your guidelines for slicing.
not-your-mama's tuna salad bagel
- 1 large fresh tuna steak, about 3/4 pound
- 4 to 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 2 handfuls (about 1 cup) small greens, such as baby romaine
- 2 poppyseed or "everything" bagels, split and toasted
- 4 tablespoons softened cream cheese
- 2 teaspoons drained capers
- Rinse the tuna and pat dry with paper towels. Pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the tuna on a plate and turn the steak over to coat. Season each side liberally with salt and pepper.
- Heat a medium skillet over high heat until hot. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. When the oil is hot, add the tuna and any oil from the plate. Sear on each side for 30 seconds to a minute, until cooked to your taste (it is way better to undercook it than overcook it!). Remove to a plate and let rest for a few minutes while you make the salad.
- In a medium bowl, combine 1 tablespoon olive oil, the red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the greens and toss to coat evenly. Taste a leaf for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Spread one tablespoon of cream cheese on each toasted bagel half. Slice the tuna thinly, along the diagonal lines. Pile tuna slices on half of each bagel, top with capers, then a handful of salad, then the last bagel half. Chomp.
makes 2, with some tuna possibly left over