Sesame Peppered Ruby Red Ahi Tuna, Fennel Mango Salad, Avocado Fritter, and Hibiscus Essence

Photos courtesy of cookbook photographer Greg Bertolini, recipe adapted from the book Flying Pans: Two Chefs, One World
Adapted by
June 2011
Yield: 4 Servings


Fennel Mango Salad
1 small bulb fennel, trimmed, halved, cored, fronds reserved
1 mango, peeled, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon shaved, toasted coconut
2 tablespoons hazelnut oil
1 tablespoon white rum
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
Dash Tabasco sauce
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Sesame Peppered Ruby Red Ahi Tuna
½ cup white sesame seeds
½ cup black sesame seeds
4 6-ounce center cut sushi grade ahi tuna steaks, 1 inch thick
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Hibiscus Essence
⅓ cup white wine
¼ cup guava juice
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
10 tablespoons dried hibiscus flowers
2 cup heavy cream
½ unsalted butter, cut into 4 cubes
Sea salt
Finely ground white pepper
Avocado Fritter
1 quart canola oil for frying
½ cup tempura batter mix
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
Pinch paprika
1 cup soda water, cold
2 avocados, seed removed, peeled, and cut into eight wedges
Assemble and Serve
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon pink peppercorns, chopped
½ teaspoon togarashi pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley leaves
4 spring roll wrappers, 7-inch square
Canola oil spray
4 fennel top fronds


For the Fennel Mango Salad:
Gently toss the fennel, mango slices, cilantro, toasted coconut, hazelnut oil, white rum, rice vinegar, and Tabasco sauce in a mixing bowl.Season with salt and pepper.

For the Sesame Peppered Ruby Red Ahi Tuna:
Put the sesame seeds into 2 separate shallow bowls. Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Press one side of tuna into the white sesame seeds and the other side into the black sesame seeds. Add oil to a heavy skillet over high heat. Sear the tuna 1 minute on each side. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut the cooked tuna in half on a bias.

For the Hibiscus Essence:
Add the wine, guava juice, shallots, and hibiscus flowers to a saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the liquid by two thirds. Stir in the cream. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Whisk in the butter 1 cube at a time. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

For the Avocado Fritter:
Heat oil in a heavy sauce pot to 365°F. Whisk the tempura batter mix, basil, paprika and water in a mixing bowl. If the batter is too thick, add a small amount of water. Dip the avocados in the tempura batter. Fry four wedges at a time for 20 seconds or until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

To Assemble and Serve:
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Combine the sesame seeds, peppercorns, togarashi and parsley in a small bowl. Fold the spring roll wrapper accordion style in ½-inch increments. Fold 1 inch of 1 end onto itself. Secure with a toothpick. Open the wrapper as a fan. Lay on a baking sheet. Spray each fan with canola oil. Sprinkle the fans with the spice mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until brittle. Remove the toothpick from each fan. Arrange the tuna in the center of a warm serving plate, leaning one slice against the other. Mound the Fennel Mango Salad behind and atop the tuna. Spoon the Hibiscus Essence onto the plate. Secure the fan with the avocado fritters behind the tuna. Garnish with the reserved fennel tops.